County Executive Bello and Mayor Warren Unveil New Community Partnership to Improve COVID-19 Vaccination Access in Underserved Neighborhoods

April 1st, 2021

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County Executive Adam Bello and Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren were joined today by local Community Based Organizations, Faith Based Organizations, community advocates and healthcare providers to announce new efforts to improve access and equity in COVID-19 vaccine distribution in underserved portions of the City of Rochester. Through this partnership, neighborhood COVID-19 vaccination PODs will be established in four neighborhood quadrants in the City of Rochester.

“From the outset of our COVID-19 vaccination efforts, it has been our goal to ensure equity in access and transparency in distribution of vaccine in our community. This is a critical step on our path to vaccinating our community and ending this unprecedented pandemic,” said County Executive Bello. “The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted our Black and Brown residents; this new initiative will ensure all our eligible residents have the opportunity to get vaccinated and can protect their families and loved ones from transmission of the virus. I’m incredibly grateful and in awe of the partnership that has come together to help our community heal through this effort, and want to encourage Rochester residents to take advantage of these neighborhood-based COVID-19 vaccination clinics.

“I am extremely grateful for this long overdue initiative,” said Mayor Warren. “I’m proud to partner with Monroe County and our community and faith based organizations to establish COVID-19 vaccine PODs directly in city neighborhoods for our residents, who have not been provided with equitable access to the vaccine prior to this program.”

Residents in targeted zip codes of 14604, 14605, 14606, 14607, 14608, 14609, 14610, 14611, 14613, 14614, 14615, 14619, 14620, 14621, 14622 will have access to COVID-19 vaccination appointments at the four neighborhood PODs over the next three weeks. Vaccination clinics will take place Thursday through Sunday on the following days and at the following locations:

Baber AME Church: 550 Meigs St, Rochester, NY 14607

  • Thursday, April 8
  • Thursday, April 15

Memorial AME Zion Church: 549 Clarissa St, Rochester, NY 14608

  • Friday, April 9
  • Friday, April 16

Greater Harvest Baptist Church: 121 Driving Park Ave, Rochester, NY 14613

  • Friday, April 23

Jackson R-Center: 485 N. Clinton Ave, Rochester NY 14605

  • Saturday, April 10
  • Saturday, April 17

Edgerton R-Center: 41 Backus St, Rochester, NY 14608

  • Sunday, April 11
  • Sunday, April 18
  • Sunday, April 25

Ryan R-Center: 530 Webster Ave, Rochester, NY 14609

  • Saturday, April 24

Location TBD

  • Thursday, April 22

Appointments will be available on the Monroe County website, or through the following participating Community Based Organizations – Ibero American Action League, Lifespan, Person Centered Housing Strategies, Refugees Helping Refugees, and Community Health Worker Association. Appointments are also available through the Baber AME church and the Memorial AME Zion church.

Appointments can be made beginning Friday, April 2, with the first vaccination clinic scheduled to be held on Thursday, April 8. Additional information and opportunities to sign-up for appointments will be announced in the coming days. The vaccination PODs will receive clinical support from the University of Rochester Medical Center and Rochester Regional Health.

“This critical effort will increase access for city residents to the COVID-19 vaccine. By locating vaccine sites in neighborhoods—close to where people live -- we can succeed at our mission: to ensure everyone who wants to be vaccinated, can be vaccinated. We must be sure that no one is left behind,” added Nana Bennett, MD, MS, Finger Lakes COVID-19 Vaccine Hub and Finger Lakes COVID-19 Vaccination Task Force.

“Meeting residents where they live, work, play and pray is a critical step to ensuring that all residents have access to the COVID-19 vaccines, particularly those with limited transportation and inflexible work hours, said Wade S. Norwood, CEO of Common Ground Health and co-chair of the Finger Lakes COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force. “By placing clinics in all quadrants of Rochester, Monroe County is helping to ensure that getting immunized will be easy and convenient for residents.”

“URMC is pleased to provide nursing and pharmacy staff to support these new clinics, and we applaud County Executive Bello and Dr. Mendoza for expanding access to vaccinations in underserved City neighborhoods,” said Kathy Parrinello, R.N., Ph.D., chief operating officer and executive vice president of Strong Memorial Hospital. “Input from the Finger Lakes COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force makes clear that people are more inclined to accept vaccination when it’s available in a location they know and trust. Along with supporting these new locations, URMC plans to provide vaccinations in all our Primary Care clinics that serve vulnerable populations to further support equity and accessibility of vaccines across the community.”

“It is vital we make the vaccine available to the community where they live. We need to break down barriers to ensure everyone can have access to the vaccine which will be instrumental in ending the pandemic,” added Robert Mayo, MD, Chief Medical Officer of Rochester Regional Health.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated many of the disparities that exist in our community, particularly when it comes to health care and public health. The four neighborhood quadrant PODs will improve equity and bring greater convenience to underserved populations in Rochester.

“We launched the Community Vaccine Education grant program because we have learned in more than 30 years of neighborhood-based grantmaking that neighbors rely on one another for trusted information. The addition of these vaccine sites will help neighborhood groups become even more effective in their outreach efforts to one another,” said Simeon Banister, vice president for community programs at Rochester Area Community Foundation.  

Members of the Black Agenda Group and La Cumbre stated, “Striving for equity means we have to go the extra mile. We must be intentional and strategic. Reaching further into our community and providing sites closer to home is essential to our plan. BAG and La Cumbre are thankful for everyone’s commitment to creating consistent sites closer to our under vaccinated communities. We believe community inclusion in permanent site selection is essential. We will collectively be monitoring progress and continue to fight for equity.”

Angelica Perez-Delgado, President/CEO of the Ibero American Action League said, “Equitable access is critical to all vaccination efforts. Ibero is relieved that permanent vaccination sites are opening right in the neighborhood and we stand ready to support the County in all outreach and engagement efforts.”

“We are so inspired by how our community mobilizes when needed to support these critical efforts to bring vaccine distribution to our region,” said Jaime Saunders, President & CEO of United Way of Greater Rochester. “More than 2,500 individuals have signed up as a part of our Vaccine Volunteer Force to help increase outreach and access to all members of our community. We have again demonstrated what our community can do when we come together. More volunteers are needed across the region, and those interested in signing up can visit,”

Rev. Derrill A. Blue said, “Memorial AME Zion Church has a strong commitment to serving our community. However, this commitment goes beyond providing service; we also seek to bridge the gap in access to resources by targeting underserved populations.   Memorial was dedicated to the vision of bringing vaccinations to our community and through a partnership with Monroe County, this is now possible.”

Sebrone O. Johnson of Greater Harvest Church said, “Communities of Faith depend on trusted partners to serve as conduits of information and access. Greater Harvest church is honored to work with the county as partners and advocates for equitable vaccine distribution.”

“Everyone has suffered during this pandemic but there is light at the end of the tunnel. I want to thank County Executive Adam Bello for his leadership during this crisis and for helping to ensure that residents of Monroe County get access to the vaccine. Opening up the vaccination sites in the four quadrants in the City will help to ensure that all individuals –older adults, low-income people and people of color – get equal access to the vaccine. Let’s hope that we can return to normalcy soon,” concluded Ann Marie Cook, President/CEO of Lifespan of Greater Rochester.