ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — A year ago Wednesday, the world watched on as a woman in the UK got her first — the first — Pfizer coronavirus vaccine dose.
Soon after, the vaccine would get to the Rochester area. Today, majority of Monroe County is vaccinated, but cases are still going up. Cases are not necessarily indicative of how severe the infection is; hospitalizations, however, are steadily rising as well, with almost 500 people hospitalized in the region.
“We’ve vaccinated over 70 percent of the population over the age of five in our region, which is a great milestone. It’s just not enough,” said Dr. Nana Bennett, leader of the Finger Lakes Vaccine Hub.
“It also took us a year to get to 70 percent, which is not what expected by any means when we started this process,” continued Bennett. “I think we have new challenges in front of us.”
Booster doses have become a point of emphasis for Dr. Bennett and the vaccine hub. Bennett says only about 35 percent of those eligible for the booster have received one.
That number for Johnson and Johnson vaccine recipients: just five percent.
“I think the game has become more complicated, and we have to renew our energy and move forward,” Bennett added.
“It’s kind of a special day for healthcare workers, especially,” said Dr. Emil Lesho with Rochester Regional Health.
Lesho, and other healthcare workers, were among the first in the area to get vaccinated this month last year.
A year later, the fight continues for Lesho and his colleagues to treat a largely unvaccinated patient population, with resources stretched thin.
“Our healthcare systems are at or a little bit above capacity,” said Lesho. “Emergency rooms and ICU beds are getting scarce.”