Dr. Mendoza: Community ‘playing with fire’ when it comes to COVID vaccination


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Monroe County’s Commissioner of Public Health said Wednesday that people choosing not to get the COVID-19 vaccine help open the door to deadlier variants, even strains of COVID that could be vaccine-resistant.

“We are playing with fire the longer we have a community as under-vaccinated as we are now,” Dr. Michael Mendoza said.

Mendoza said never in his career had he seen such a polarizing issue. He says that now the Pfizer vaccine has full FDA approval, it’s on the exact same plane as the other vaccines out there.

“This is far more effective than the flu shot and we don’t get the same level of pushback from the flu shot,” Mendoza said.

Since March 1, 86% of COVID-19 deaths were from people who were unvaccinated. When it comes to the delta variant, Mendoza says he’d like to think, we’ve reached a plateau.

“The fact that our numbers aren’t in the two to three hundred (range) is reassuring to me now,” he said.

Even with all this, Mendoza says we know how to keep schools and businesses open with parameters in place. Penfield is one of the school districts that had the first day of classes Wednesday.

“I feel really good about kids being in school,” Mendoza said. “The cost of them not being in school is really a cost that we’re just not willing to bear for another year.”

Mendoza says new data will show that the COVID vaccine, while not perfect, is effective — and key for our health and economy.

“They’re not by and large getting sick,” Mendoza said of vaccinated patients. “They’re generally not getting hospitalized and they’re not dying.”

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