At URMC and Monroe County vaccination sites, enthusiasm high, but doses running low

Coronavirus

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Since December, UR Medicine has given more than 27,000 vaccinations to employees and other health-care workers. Last week, as patients ages 65 and older became eligible, they launched a long-term effort to vaccinate hundreds of thousands of patients across the area. 

Monday, they opened a second vaccination center on their campus for patients.

“They’re selected randomly from our pool of over 65,000 patients who are now eligible,” says John Clark, Regional Administrator for Primary Care at URMC.

Clark says Monday, 300 people are getting their first Covid vaccine shot at their second clinic. That’s about half capacity; they actually have more capacity than they have vaccine right now. At the Riverside Convention Center downtown, a clinic for first responders is also expected to soon run short. 

“Every morning we count how many doses we have available. We’re probably down to several hundred left,” says Tim Henry, Deputy Director of Public Safety for County.

When it comes to the current vaccine shortage, Monroe County issued the following joint statement Monday:

“The Monroe County Department of Public Health is expecting an allocation of approximately 1500 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine this week, which is enough to fulfill previously scheduled appointments of essential workers. These vaccinations will take place at our clinics at the County Fleet Center and the Rochester Riverside Convention Center through Wednesday. Any worker who has an existing appointment at the Monroe County Fleet Center for later this week will be contacted by MCDPH with updated information about their appointment. At this time, we are not in a position to offer additional appointments until more vaccine becomes available. Per New York State’s directive, MCDPH will continue to prioritize essential workers, and will make additional appointments as soon as supply allows us to do so. Our goal has been to ensure Monroe County’s capacity to administer the vaccine outpaces the available supply. We’ve reached that point this week, and hope that additional supply becomes available as manufacturing and distribution increase.”

— County Executive Adam Bello and Public Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Mendoza

A pending vaccine shortage or not, it did not hurt the mood of those getting the shot today at both sites. 

“Very positive. People are just thankful to be able to have the opportunity given the stressful jobs they’re under and facing the community they have, to be able to have this vaccine available for them,” says Henry at the Convention Center.

“It’s been ecstatic. The positive energy you can feel…” says Clark at URMC.

Mary Miller’s husband is immune-compromised and feels this is something we all need to do to beat coronavirus. “I think it’s just a really important thing for everyone to be committed to,” says Miller.

73-year-old Michael Santantello of Chili said whatever side effects might come with the vaccine, it beats getting COVID. “This virus scares me. I don’t want to catch the virus,” he says.

Clark says making the vaccine was a scientific and manufacturing feat. He’s confident those who want a vaccine, will get one in the weeks ahead. 

“Over time, we’re going to get more vaccine,” he says.

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