Data collected from community outreach initiatives and pop-up clinics are showing a positive impact on the Rochester population and their COVID-19 vaccine rates.
More than 50% of the eligible population in every Rochester city ZIP code has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccination, community leaders announced. The Rochester ZIP code data is reported on the Finger Lakes COVID-19 Hub web site, after several months of increased efforts to ensure equitable vaccine distribution by a number of community agencies, the City of Rochester and Monroe County. Community leaders say this is a critical milestone, given the high communicability rate of the COVID-19 variants.
“What we have achieved in the city of Rochester is good news, and it shows that our grassroots community-outreach efforts are working,” Wade Norwood, Common Ground Health CEO and co-chair of the Finger Lakes COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force said. “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.”
Vaccine equity efforts, which have brought clinics into various community locations, have been integral to achieving these numbers. Through Sept. 9, 2,648 people have been vaccinated through the City’s R-Centers and libraries – which have hosted 70 clinics since February. The top ZIP codes served in these facilities are: 14621, 14609, 14606, 14605, 14613 and 14611.
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 daily to residents with less access to the vaccine. As a partner in the effort, Common Ground Health employed 16 ambassadors who walked the streets around the clinics, distributing literature and encouraging people to get vaccinated. United Way of Greater Rochester and funding partners ESL Federal Credit Union, Wegmans Food Markets, Paychex, Greater Rochester Health Foundation and Konar Foundation provided critical support to these grassroots efforts and ongoing communications around the vaccine.
While fully vaccinated people can still contract COVID-19 in rare cases, the risk of hospitalization or death is greatly reduced, as is the risk of transmitting the disease to others.
“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.”
Community leaders also applauded the way that the community has come together in this time of great need.
“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.”
Vaccination rates by ZIP code are tracked by the Finger Lakes COVID-19 Vaccine Hub (https://www.flvaccinehub.com/regional-data). The data is updated weekly.
Not counted in this analysis is the 14614 ZIP code, which is statistically difficult to quantify because the Monroe County Jail population comprises much of this ZIP code, and we do not have complete information for this population.
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