Rochester Regional Health

Researchers in Rochester have begun a trial of a potential vaccine against the novel coronavirus.

Phase one of the three-phase trial is testing the vaccine on about 40 people, said Dr. Edward Walsh, the infectious disease physician who's leading the trial.

One of those test subjects is Becky Timmons, who got her first dose of the vaccine at Rochester General Hospital on Thursday.

With all of the talk about a coronavirus vaccine, a concerning trend has taken hold in the United States and around the world: children are missing their routine visits for vaccination. The rates of vaccination are dropping sharply, but the experts hope that's a short-term trend that will soon be reversed. Doctors say a large factor is parents' fear of leaving the house with their kids, and in particular, fear of going to the hospital or doctors’ offices. But the medical community is sending an urgent signal: don't miss vaccination.

Our guests discuss the issues, and answer your questions about medical visits for children during the pandemic. Our guests:

  • Dr. Stephen Cook, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics and internal medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center, and medical director at the New York State Department of Health
  • Dr. Elizabeth Murray, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics and emergency medicine at Golisano Children’s Hospital at Strong
  • Dr. Laura Jean Shipley, M.D., associate medical director for Accountable Health Partners, and vice chair for behavioral and population health in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Rochester Medical Center
  • Dr. David Topa, M.D., pediatrician at Pittsford Pediatric Associates

Brett Dahlberg / WXXI News

A Yates County family whose son was barred from school after being denied a medical exemption for vaccines was back in court Friday, arguing that he should be allowed back in school permanently.

Carl Schwartz said his son, Thorn, has severe reactions to vaccines. He said the family’s doctor agrees, and Thorn has not been vaccinated in almost a decade.

Still, Carl said no doctor has found a causal link between Thorn’s reactions and a vaccine.

National Cancer Institute

The number of people vaccinated against human papillomavirus in Monroe County has grown, though it’s still below the levels sought by government officials and vaccine advocates.

The increased vaccination rates come amid an effort by the New York state legislature to move forward a bill that would make immunization against HPV mandatory for children 11 years and older to attend school.

Brett Dahlberg / WXXI News

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.

New York State is joining a growing list of states that have banned religious exemptions for vaccines. And while the state passed the ban this year, most of the delegation representing the Rochester and Finger Lakes area voted to save religious exemptions.

Many local doctors have expressed their frustration about that. They join us to discuss the state of vaccines. Our guests:

  • Dr. Elizabeth Murray, M.D., assistant professor of pediatrics and pediatrician at Golisano Children’s Hospital
  • Dr. Steve Cook, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics and pediatrician at Golisano Children’s Hospital
  • Dr. Michael Mendoza, M.D., Monroe County Public Health Commissioner

Alissa Eckert / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Officials in Livingston County confirmed another mumps case on Wednesday, bringing this year’s total to three.

Kathy Root, the county health department’s director of patient services, said the person with the newly confirmed case is a student in the Livonia Central School District who had contact with the two people infected earlier this year.

The school district did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Alissa Eckert / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Two people in Livingston County have come down with mumps, according to health officials there.

Both live in the county, and both were fully vaccinated, said Kathy Root, who directs patient services for the county health department.

Two vaccinated people in one county contracting the disease is statistically unlikely, but still possible, Root said.

“No vaccine is 100 percent effective,” said Root. “But we have to keep vaccination levels high if we want to prevent further spread.”


As a measles outbreak downstate has continued to grow, health care workers in Monroe County said they are monitoring the situation, but they do not see an immediate threat to the Rochester area.

Brett Dahlberg / WXXI News

With more measles cases in the last month than in the entire previous decade, Monroe County health officials urged parents to take action.

A growing number of parents in the Rochester area – and across the state and country – are choosing not to vaccinate their children, said county public health commissioner Michael Mendoza.