ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Vaccination efforts went smoothly in the City of Rochester Wednesday, as officials were scheduled to compete 1,000 appointments for COVID-19 vaccines on the first full day of operations at the new mass vaccination site in the former Kodak Hawkeye parking lot.
The site is located at the corner of St. Paul and Avenue E on the city’s north east side and is scheduled to operate daily from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. with approximately 1,000 COVID-19 shots administered each day.
Appointments were initially reserved for residents of certain zip codes in Rochester, but has since expanded eligibility to include all Monroe County residents who are currently eligible to receive the vaccine in New York state. Unsure if you’re eligible? Click here to find out.
Regional Transit Service buses were on site to keep people warm while they were waiting, but there wasn’t much of a need for the buses Wednesday morning with no line at the site, and people coming in and out of the tent quickly to get their shot.
“It was real easy to get through it, it seems really organized and everyone was really friendly and really helpful, and there’s a good energy in there because I think people are hyped to be getting this and I know we’re very grateful to have the chance to get our vaccine today,” said Nick Brandreth, a Rochester resident.
The FEMA-run mass vaccination site can do 1,000 shots of the COVID-19 vaccine per day, with the goal of getting 28,000 people vaccinated in a few week’s time. Wednesday was the first full day of operations after a soft opening Tuesday where 250 shots were given.
Many people who came Wednesday were Rochester residents living in zip codes where vaccination rates are extremely low.
“I’m so happy that the site is available to certain demographics and I would hope people take advantage of it because you know herd immunity is important and if we all get vaccinated, we can go on with our lives, some normalcy hopefully,” said Karren Kostera, Rochester resident.
Since the residency requirements were only temporary, some local lawmakers have called for an extension, saying it wasn’t enough time to overcome barriers with things like transportation and Technology.
“The existing health care system is inequitable, and we need to work harder — including allowing more time to reach residents — to ensure equitable distribution of this vaccine,” said New York State Sen. Samra Brouk (D-55) in a statement.
However, many efforts were created to help including door knocking campaigns, phone lines, and in-person registration events. As of Wednesday, the site is open to all eligible residents in Monroe County-which many see as a necessary step to reaching herd immunity.
“I think open up to whoever can really it’s such an opportunity to be able, you know we were in a phase that allowed us but really the more people who can get it the better,” said Heather Hoekstra.
Those with appointments can except to enter the tent, go through a series of check points before getting the shot, being monitored for any side effects and then heading home.
“We need to be proactive and live our best lives. if you want longevity and this is part of the process, take the vaccination I highly suggest it,” said Dee Bennett, a Rochester resident.
There are many resources for seniors, and anyone eligible for the vaccine available through the city of Rochester, those looking for an appointment can go to local Rec-Centers, City’s libraries or call the City’s help line at 3-1-1.
The Regional Transit Service has also announced it will waive fares on all trips on Route 35 St. Paul from March 3 through May 3 to make it easier for residents to get to the new mass vaccination site.