Rochester Regional begins Phase 1b vaccination with drive-thru clinic

Coronavirus

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — On Monday, officials from Rochester Regional Health announced they plan to begin vaccinating the patients that fall under phase 1b in the vaccination prioritization plan.

Beginning Monday, vaccination eligibility was expanded to phase 1b in New York state, which includes residents 75-years-and-older, educators, firefighters, and police.

“At Rochester Regional Health we’ve developed a process that we will be reaching out to our patients who are 75 years or older that have a primary care physician that is employed by RRH or part of our group of provider network,” Chief Physician Enterprise Officer Dr. Bridgette Wiefling said.

“We’re also including behavior health patients too. But we’ve created a process where we are generating a randomized list because there isn’t enough vaccine to vaccinate every patients on day 1.”

Wiefling said doctors are beginning to call patients on Monday and beginning to schedule vaccinations appointments on Tuesday.

MORE | ‘Am I Eligible’ app helps New Yorkers determine when they can get the COVID-19 vaccine

In a statement from RRH, officials detailed what patients who qualify need to know:

  • Patients do NOT need to call us to schedule a vaccination appointment. We will contact patients when more supplies are available. 
  • The vaccine is free and patients will not be billed.
  • This applies to ambulatory patients only, not hospitalized patients.
  • Because vaccine supplies remain limited, to ensure equitable access patients are being chosen in a randomized fashion, across our geographic footprint.
  • Those patients newly eligible are part of Phase 1B prioritization guidelines directed by the NYS Department of Health.
  • At this time, RRH will not be reaching out to our patients who are not 75+ but are Phase 1B eligible, including educators, first responders, public safety workers, and public transit workers. These additional populations are encouraged to visit the NYS website to schedule an appointment for an upcoming community clinic. RRH is participating in the community clinics, which are coordinated in partnership with the Finger Lakes Vaccine Hub.
  • If patients have questions they should contact their primary care provider.

On Tuesday, a RRH opened a drive thru clinic at Unity for patients.

Public Relations Advisor for RRH Veronica Chiesi Brown said each patient will be called in advanced and given a scheduled time to come to the drive thru clinic.

“We’re asking them to be patient. We realize this process causes a lot of anxiety among many people. So I think they should wait. We will call them. Please do not call us,” Chiesi Brown said. “We have a great process with a lot of people working around the clock to make sure we get the people the vaccination that they need, based on the supply that we have.”

Chief Medical Officer Dr. Robert Mayo said they have 30,000 patients that would call under the phase 1b category and will be making calls based on the supply they receive to fill up each clinic on a day by day basis.

“We’re expecting a couple thousand calls to go out this week and hopefully as many appointments but we’re not certain. It depends on how many people are willing to accept that appointment and move forward,” Mayo said.

“We do need to report to the New York State Department of Health how we are doing with vaccines, we do that daily. Out of the 18,000 doses we’ve administers there’s been only 20 with expiration issues or that have had to be discarded so we’re doing very well in that regard.”

Wiefling said the chosen vaccination clinic sites are close to a hospitals. “We want to be prepared incase there is some sort of reaction to the vaccine, so they are close.”

In an effort to make sure the clinics are accessible, the doctors said many of the clinics also fall along the RTS bus routes.

Check back with News 8 WROC as we continue to update this developing story.

Watch the full press briefing:

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