ROCHESTER, N.Y. —Thousands of Rochester residents have registered so far for the new St. Paul Street mass COVID-19 vaccination site. But with only two days left before registration opens to all of New York state, the city is pushing to make sure city residents take advantage of the remaining spots.
Officials say equity is important when it comes to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’ve shared the data a couple of times about the disproportionate impact that COVID has had on these particular zip codes, on city residents, and on Black and brown residents,” Rochester’s Recreation and Human Services Commissioner Daniele Lyman-Torres said.
That's why Torres says city residents need to take advantage of the mass vaccination site opening at the corner of St. Paul Street and Avenue E.
But Torres says, unfortunately, inequity also means a lack of access to transportation, technology, and health care in general.
“I think this site is wonderful and is going to help,” Torres said. “The key is getting people to the site and getting people scheduled for appointments.”
That's why residents without access to the internet can call 311 to have someone help them register over the phone. Additionally, the city has dedicated registration stations set up at city libraries and R-Centers.
“We’ve helped kind of bridge that technology gap by making it available to people, but most people have also needed support with getting through the process,” Torres said.
And the Finger Lakes COVID Task Force is also stepping in to help. Chief Operating Officer at Common Ground Health Albert Blankley says nearly 100 volunteers are going door-to-door, not just informing residents of what services are available, but helping them get registered and get access to transportation too.
“It’s really important to, as much as we can, create pathways for the people living in these communities get access to this life-saving treatment,” Blankley said.
More than 17,000 spots remain with only two days left before registration is opened to the rest of New York state. So Blankley says even if you’re on the fence, just register for now to be safe.
“You’ll get an appointment, but you’ll have time. You’ll have the opportunity to talk to your physician if you want to, you’ll have the time to talk with your friends and neighbors to really make that decision,” Blankley said. “But go ahead and schedule that appointment, book it. And that way you’ve got it in case you jump over that fence and decide you want to get it.”
The Regional Transit Authority is also offering free rides from the transit center to the vaccination site.