ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — City of Rochester officials reported Wednesday that more than 50% of the eligible population in every Rochester zip code has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
City officials say grassroots outreach and pop-up clinics have been an effective tool in helping increasing vaccination rates.
The data comes courtesy of the Finger Lakes COVID-19 Hub, and community leaders say it’s a “critical milestone” given the high rate of COVID-19 transmission currently in Rochester.
The City of Rochester lags behind Monroe County as a whole in terms of vaccination, which as of of Monday, reported 61.% of the county population being fully vaccinated, and 65.8% with at least one dose.
“What we have achieved in the City of Rochester is good news, and it shows that our grassroots community-outreach efforts are working,” said Wade Norwood, Common Ground Health CEO and co-chair of the Finger Lakes COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force, in a Wednesday press release.. “However, we still have a long way to go to reach the number of people we need to end this pandemic. We will continue to do the work necessary to educate more people about the benefits of the vaccines and to get more shots in people’s arms, particularly people of color and other underserved communities.”
Officials say vaccine equity efforts, have been integral to achieving these numbers, adding that through September 9, 2,648 people have been vaccinated through the City’s R-Centers and libraries, which have hosted 70 clinics since February.
In addition to the R-Centers and libraries, the summer vaccine distribution efforts brought vaccines to churches, community based organizations and neighborhood festivals and provided vaccination opportunities to residents with less vaccination access.
“I applaud the heroic efforts of this collaboration,” said Dr. Nana Bennett, who leads the Finger Lakes COVID-19 Hub at the University of Rochester Medical Center and is co-chair of Monroe County’s vaccine task force. “50% vaccinated in all city ZIP codes is certainly a milestone, yet there is more work to be done. I remain optimistic about being able to protect additional individuals as we prepare for the seasons ahead.”
“Throughout the pandemic, our R-Centers and libraries have been and remain true lifelines for the community, first providing spaces for meal distribution and internet access, then transforming into community health clinics, ensuring equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccine,” Rochester Mayor Lovely A. Warren said. “Thanks to the hard work and efforts of City staff, in partnership with the County and other community organizations doing incredible work, 2,600 residents have gained protection against COVID-19, and more than half of the population in every City ZIP code has been vaccinated. There is more work to do, but these are numbers to be proud of.”
“Although our work is far from done, reaching this important milestone is very encouraging news for our community. Getting vaccinated is safe, effective and the best way for every one of us to protect ourselves and the people we love,” said Monroe County Executive Adam Bello. “I commend all the community partners who came together to help us increase vaccine access in these hard-to-reach neighborhoods. This proves the power of working together toward a common goal.”
Officials say the 1416 zip code is not counted in the analysis due to the Monroe County Jail population compromising some of the data.