Rochester vaccine pop-up clinics see uptick in healthcare workers ahead of mandate


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Unvaccinated healthcare staff in New York will be forced to resign tomorrow as the state’s mandate, put into place by Governor Kathy Hochul, goes into effect. Vaccine clinics in Rochester drew an increased number of medical professionals Sunday who are looking to keep hold of their jobs.

The community center located on Backus Street has not only been a key location for getting more people their shots in a quick manner, it has also proved to be a convenient spot for last-minute vaccinations.

Organized by the Monroe County Department of Health and operated through URMC Doctors, clinic staff noticed more turnouts of healthcare workers who came to get their first dose this weekend.  

“We have the Johnson & Johnson shot here as well as the Pfizer, but the Johnson & Johnson is one and done, so they’re really convenient for people,” Clinic Lead Dr. Stepen Cook said. “But even if they get the Pfizer, they can show their employer they started the series and are going to finish it. We’ve definitely seen more. They make up around a third or half of what we do at these events.”  

Not all patients who received their first vaccine were confident of its benefits, but all echoed the same reason for being there — getting the vaccine in order to stay employed at work.  

“I’ve also been applying for other jobs and it seems as though they’re asking, directly on the application, have you got the COVID-19 vaccine or are you going to get it?” local professional nutritionist Moe Griffin said. “So either way I’m going to need it, so I might as well just get it now.”  

When asked what took some until now to get their shot, those who showed up at pop-up clinics said they are concerned about side effects and how quickly the vaccine was created.

Others wanted to wait to see how relatives or friends felt after receiving their dose.  

“People that are way older than me got it because I’m only 24. So it’s people who are 30 and up and they said ‘my kids got it and they’re 12,’” Griffin said. “This person got it and my grandma got it, so if little babies are getting it, I can’t be any different.”  

Concerns or questions about getting vaccinated where handled by the Department of Health and URMC doctors who were available to provide answers on the shot’s short and long-term effects.

Clinics will be set up for a few more weeks at local community centers in order to serve any unvaccinated healthcare workers that change their minds. 

Currently, 63.1% of New York is fully vaccinated according to the Department of Health Vaccine Tracker. According to Monroe County Executive Adam Bello, over 90% the region’s healthcare employees have received at at least one dose of the vaccine.

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