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Rochester city officials try to boost sign-ups for COVID-19 vaccine

Denise Young

Rochester City officials continue to work to get more people signed up for vaccinations at a site that is opening up Wed., March 3, on St. Paul Street, in the parking lot of the former Kodak Hawkeye plant.

For the last week, vaccination sign-ups have only been open to eligible residents in specific zip codes; the idea is to help target communities of color and others who have been hit disproportionately by COVID-19.

At this point, more than 11,000 people have registered to be inoculated at the St. Paul Street site, but there are 17,000 slots still open.  As of Wednesday, registration will be open to all New Yorkers who are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.

Daniele Lyman-Torres, city commissioner for recreation and human services, said the short amount of time that people had to learn about this mass vaccination site is a factor in not seeing more sign-ups at this point.

“We just, a lot of times, need more time to reach out to people, to get people to understand not only where it’s going to be but how they can sign up and how they can get there and how they’ll be supported in the process,” Lyman-Torres said.

She disputed the idea that many people of color are hesitant to sign up because of some concern they have with the vaccine.

"There are no more people who are Black and brown who don’t want it then there are Caucasian people who don’t want it," Lyman-Torres said. "There are people who are skeptical in any group, but that’s not what we’ve been encountering. We’ve been encountering people who want it and just don’t know how to get it.”

Rochester’s reachout efforts have included the 311 call center and registration stations at city libraries and R-Centers.  Monroe County and Common Ground Health have also been working to get information out about how to sign up for the St. Paul Street vaccination clinic.

For the 1345 St. Paul Street site, the vaccine sign-ups through Wednesday are for people who live in these ZIP codes: 14605, 14613, 14611, 14608, 14621, 14619, 14606, 14615, 14614, 14609, 14604, 14603.

Appointments can be booked through New York’s “Am I Eligible” website, by calling 311 or the New York COVID Hotline 1-833-NYS-4-VAX (1-833-697-4829).

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.