ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Mayor Lovely Warren says more needs to be done to provide the COVID-19 vaccine to Black and Brown communities in Rochester.
In a press conference on Tuesday, Mayor Warren, Councilmember Miguel Melendez, Jr. and others called for more action to make the vaccine as well as the registration process easier to all who are eligible.
“Many of our most populated zip codes are two to three times behind than towns like Webster, Pittsford and Brighton,” Warren said.
“I know people are getting tired of me talking about equity, structural racism. Well I’m sorry it’s far past time for us to wake up. These numbers are what institution racism looks like. It’s not just confederate flags or Trump signs, we can deal with that because it’s in your face. This is institutionalized racism, racism that truly hurts and kills.”
Last week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that a mass vaccination site is scheduled to be operational in Rochester beginning March 3 at the former Kodak Hawkeye parking lot on St. Paul and Avenue E. The governor said this site will be able to administer approximately 1,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses per day, and is possible because of a state-federal partnership.
“Each site will do 1,000 per day, 7,000 a week,” Gov. Cuomo said last week. “They start on March 3, they get an allocation from the federal government. They’re jointly run between the state and local government, and we’re going to use National Guard personnel to help us do that.”
The mass vaccination site will be only for City of Rochester residents for the first week. However, Mayor Warren doesn’t think that’s enough.
“I’m calling on the state and local vaccine hub to provide a two week extension of dedicated access of the St. Paul street mass vaccinate site to residents of our underserved zip codes.”
The mayor also said beginning Wednesday, the City’s 311 line will be made available for those eligible to call and get help scheduling an appointment. The mayor said R Centers and the City’s libraries will also have opportunities for those eligible to get help registering for a vaccine appointment.
“Our seniors are afraid. They’re scared because they know that if they get this virus that many of them will not survive and we have a vaccine that is available that they’re fighting to get. We say that Black and Brown people don’t want the vaccine, that’s not true I have hundreds and hundreds of people today that want the vaccine. They don’t have access and we want them to have access.”