Rochester mass vaccination site opens, expands availability

Updated: March 03, 2021 12:37 PM
Created: March 03, 2021 06:24 AM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — COVID-19 vaccine appointment availability will be expanded Wednesday at New York State's mass vaccination site at the former  Kodak Hawkeye plant on St. Paul Street in Rochester.

According to Finger Lakes Regional Director Vincent Espositio, more than 12,000 appointments opened to any eligible Monroe County resident, starting at 8 a.m. on the state's vaccine website. Previously, the site only offered appointments to people living in specific ZIP codes, as the state, and the federal government targeted people in underserved communities, specifically targeted the area's black and brown community. 

The slots available will be for March 16-23 & April 14-27.

To be clear, the site is only available to Monroe County residents. See our Good Question on the documents you need here.

Wednesday also marks the first official day for those living in the underserved communities to actually get the shot. In its partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the state tested the new site Tuesday during a "soft launch" where 250 people got the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine. 

It's estimated "hundreds" of people are scheduled to come in, but the site has the capability of vaccinating roughly 1,000 people daily. 

For those arriving at the site,  greeters will be there to ask a series of questions and explain the process. After the shot, emergency services are on hand and there's a 15 to 30-minute waiting area to make sure there's no reaction to the vaccine. The state is asking people to not come more than 10 to 15 minutes ahead of their appointment. 

As News10NBC explored Tuesday, several local organizations are pitching in to help people both sign up for, and travel to the site.  This includes The YMCA of Greater Rochester, Ibero, and Rochester's Regional Transportation Service, which waived fares on the routes to the site for one month.

While it is a state-run site, the Finger Lakes COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force is trying to fill as many vaccine spots as possible, as, previously, more than 17,000 spots remained open.

As a reminder, to qualify for a vaccine, you must still be eligible by state guidelines. This includes being 65 years old, or older, a frontline worker, or having a certain underlying health condition.

Check to see if you're eligible.

You can also call the state's COVID vaccine hotline at 1-833-NYS-4-VAX (1-833-697-4829)

Click here for the latest coronavirus coverage.

Copyright 2021 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company