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COVID-19 Vaccine Outreach Efforts Show Success

Patti Singer
pattisinger@minorityreporter.net

Pop-up clinics in places such as the
David F.Gantt R-Center helped make it convenient for people get a COVID-19 vaccine. File photo

More than half of people eligible in every city ZIP code for a COVID-19 vaccine have received at least one dose, according to data released Sept. 15 by the Finger Lakes COVID-10 Vaccine Task Force.

The announcements follows months of efforts to bring vaccines to underserved neighborhoods and to reach people who otherwise had no way to get to a vaccine clinic and to clear up myths and misconceptions around the science behind the vaccine and otherwise help people overcome hesitancy.

“What we have achieved in the city of Rochester is good news, and it shows that our grassroots community-outreach efforts are working,” Wade Norwood, Common Ground Health CEO and co-chair of the Finger Lakes COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force said in a news release. “However, we still have a long way to go to reach the number of people we need to end this pandemic. We will continue to do the work necessary to educate more people about the benefits of the vaccines and to get more shots in people’s arms, particularly people of color and other underserved communities.”

Vaccine ambassadors such as
Wallace Foster Smith helped people overcome their hesitancy. File photo

Vaccine equity efforts have brought clinics into places such as R-Centers, libraries, churches, neighborhood festivals and community-based organizations. Vaccine ambassadors employed by Common Ground Health walked the neighborhoods where clinics were held and handed out information about vaccinations.

ZIP codes 14621, 14609, 14606, 14605, 14613 and 14611 received particular attention in the effort, which the news release said resulted in 2,600 people getting at least one dose. The analysis does not include 14614, which is statistically hard to quantify because the population includes the Monroe County Jail and information on inmates is incomplete.

The data are through Sept. 9 and were released as community transmission in Monroe County remains high, according to a federal tracking system. From Sept. 7 through Sept. 13, the county recorded 1,129 new cases, with a seven-day rolling average of 161 new cases per day.

According to the Finger Lakes Vaccine Hub, 55.7% of people in Monroe County who’ve received at least one vaccine have gotten the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, 36.9% have gotten Moderna and 7.3% have received the one-dose Johnson&Johnson version.

Vaccine data can be confusing to understand because it can appear on different web sites in different forms and for different dates. According to the vaccine hub, 73.2% of Monroe County residents have received at least one dose – the most in the nine-county region. The county health department reports a slightly lower percentage. But in either case, there are a number of people who have not received a second dose of Pfizer or Moderna more than six weeks after the initial dose.

While fully vaccinated people can still contract COVID-19 in rare cases, the risk of hospitalization or death is greatly reduced, as is the risk of transmitting the disease to others.