Health officials changing vaccine rollout strategy amid ZIP code disparities

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — With New York’s COVID-19 positivity rate still less than 1%, the effort to get people vaccinated is becoming more strategic. There is a huge disparity in our region, with some ZIP codes with nearly 90% of adults vaccinated, and others some 60 percentage points behind.

News10NBC took a look at what is being done now in those challenged areas.

Wade Norwood, the Co-leader of the Finger Lakes Vaccination Task Force says our vaccination numbers so far are something to be proud of, but we can’t stop now.

While New York State enjoys a COVID-19 vaccination rate of more than 70%, Monroe County isn’t too far behind current sitting at 68.4%. Norwood says he also wants to see a 70% rate for the county, but we’re not getting there fast enough.

"We really have some nooks and crannies we need to get into some populations where folks are still on the journey to yes, and some places where we’ve not effectively reaching people who are vaccine resistant," Norwood said.

The task force is targeting low reporting ZIP codes such as 14614 where only 28% of residents have received at least one dose. Ambassadors from the task force like Jackie Dozier are hitting the streets, and even going door to door to get people vaccinated.

"We know that everybody won’t get vaccinated, but our hope is that majority of our citizens here in the nine-county Finger Lakes region to get vaccinated so that we can get to herd immunity," Dozier said.

She and the team are handing out postcards, letting people know when and where vaccination pop-up sites like the one at the Lincoln Library are happening. Besides postcards, the task force is giving away some incentives.

"We’re giving away gift cards, we’re giving away bus passes. We’re also giving away raffle tickets to the upcoming ROC Soul Festival the city is putting on," Dozier said.

She went on to say that other agencies are actually vaccinating people in their homes if they can’t make it to a vaccine clinic.