Monroe County extends clinic hours for back-to-school vaccine push

Aug 28, 2019

Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo and public health commissioner Michael Mendoza on Wednesday urged families to get their children vaccinated in time for the school year and announced extended hours at the county’s immunization clinic.

The announcement comes as a measles outbreak downstate starts to slow, and schools get ready for the first year in which families cannot claim religious exemptions to vaccinations.

Mendoza said the policy shift is a much-needed change.

“From a health standpoint, there’s no question. It’s important that everybody, as much as possible, obtains their vaccines,” Mendoza said.

Monroe County public health commissioner Michael Mendoza speaks at a press conference Wednesday announcing extended hours at the county's immunization clinic.
Credit Brett Dahlberg / WXXI News

Mendoza said the overall vaccination rate has to stay high – over 95% – to protect people who cannot get vaccinated. That group includes infants, people with some chronic diseases, and people undergoing chemotherapy. They rely on herd immunity to prevent exposure to dangerous diseases.

The change to state law is leading to an increase in demand for vaccines, and that’s part of why the county is offering extended hours at its immunization clinic.

Dinolfo said people who come to the immunization clinic should bring their insurance information with them, but the county will vaccinate even if a family lacks insurance.

“If people can’t pay, we’re here,” said Dinolfo. “This is a clinic that’s for everybody, and we want to make sure that cost is no factor.”

Under state law, all students at public and private schools are required to finish their first round of vaccines by a few weeks into the school year, unless they have a medical exemption certified by a doctor.

The immunization clinic’s extended hours for walk-in clients run from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays from Sept. 4 through Sept. 19. Other times are available by appointment. More information is available at the county’s website.