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Will You Get Your Vaccine in Time for Memorial Day?

Patti Singer
pattisinger@minorityreporter.net

Memorial AME Zion Church on Clarissa Street is one of the sites reserved for residents of select city ZIP codes. Photo by Patti Singer/Minority Reporter Media Group

Memorial Day is about seven weeks away, which means if you get vaccinated now you can be protected by then.

“As we look ahead to the summer, as we look ahead to a more normal summer, I want to encourage everybody that this vaccine is really our way to normalcy,” Monroe County Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Mendoza said April 8 at the weekly COVID-19 news briefing.

Across Monroe County, 38% of eligible residents had received at least one dose of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine.

April 8 marked the start of vaccine clinics in the city, set up in each quadrant to make it easier for residents of ZIP codes where vaccination has been low to get immunized.

The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines each require two doses. The second Pfizer shot is given three weeks after the initial injection and the follow-up Moderna shot is given four weeks later.

Full immunization is believed to be about two weeks after the second dose.

Mendoza said that residents should not wait for the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. He said supply may be limited and the priority will be people who are homebound or for whom providing a second dose can be logistically difficult.

“If you got your vaccine today, whether it is Pfizer or Moderna, you will be immunized well in advance of Memorial Day,” he said. “If you wait for Johnson & Johnson, it’s highly unlikely you will be able to have that same degree of protection because it’s unlikely you will have the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in time to be immune for Memorial Day.”

Mendoza is among health officials who have said that if gatherings are kept small, and all people have been fully vaccinated, they can take off their masks while together.

However, masks still are needed around anyone who has not been vaccinated and when physical distance can’t be maintained.

Even if you don’t have plans for the weekend that marks the unofficial start to summer, getting vaccinated can protect you from the variants that Mendoza said are causing an increase in cases in the county.

The same day as the news conference, Monroe County reported 302 new cases. The rate of positive tests has gone from less than 2% in mid-March to nearly 3%, and the seven-day average of new cases has been on either side of 200. Cases have increased the most among younger people. Those older than 60 have not seen the dramatic spike.

Mendoza said there have been a negligible number of cases among health care workers and others who are vaccinated.

“It is now a race now between the vaccines and variants,” he said. “Get your vaccine as soon as you are able.”

New York has expanded eligibility to anyone 16 and older. However, 16- and 17-year-olds are limited to the Pfizer vaccine, which is being given at the Dome Arena in Henrietta.

County Executive Adam Bello and Mendoza said there is enough Pfizer and Moderna vaccine for people who want it, and that appointments no longer are being snatched up within minutes of the schedule going online.

Residents of 14604, 14605, 14606, 14607, 14608, 14609, 14610, 14611, 14613, 14614, 14615, 14619, 14620, 14621 and 14622 can go to the clinics in the city. Vaccination is by appointment. Call (585) 753-5555. Appointments also can be made through the Monroe County website, www.monroecounty.gov or through United Way of Greater Rochester, Ibero American Action League, Lifespan, Person Centered Housing Strategies, Refugees Helping Refugees, and Community Health Worker Association.

Here is the schedule:

  • April 8 and 15, Baber AME: 550 Meigs St.,
  • April 9 and 16, Memorial AME Zion: 549 Clarissa St.,
  • April 10 and 17, Jackson R-Center: 485 N. Clinton Ave.,
  • April 11, 18 and 25, Edgerton R-Center: 41 Backus St.,
  • April 22 at a site to be determined,
  • April 23, Greater Harvest Baptist Church: 121 Driving Park,
  • April 24, Ryan R-Center: 530 Webster Ave.