News & Opinion » News

County and city partner with URMC for pop-up vaccine clinics in minority communities



Monroe County is partnering with University of Rochester Medical Center and the city of Rochester’s Department of Recreation and Human Services to provide additional vaccination hubs to underserved communities.

They are called equity pods, designed to specifically target city residents who do not have access to larger vaccination sites.

The county’s chief community engagement officer, Dr. Candace Lucas, said these portable clinics also offer a sense of security to those who are still skeptical about the vaccination process.

“We work together to identify the best location for familiarity and trust,” Lucas said. “We work to make sure that it is staffed by people who are familiar and representative of the community that we are working with.”

Lucas said the locations usually include neighborhood recreation centers, apartment complexes, or churches. She said once the pod locations are selected, recruitment often involves a grassroots approach.

“We really are reaching people by going door-to-door, calling phone numbers, and meeting face to face,” Lucas said.

The clinics will occur biweekly, and vaccinate up to 300 people.

URMC’s Dr. Nancy Bennett raved about the outreach program at a county COVID-19 briefing.

“Everybody has just come together and set these up so beautifully. They've run really smoothly,” Bennett said. “We’ve used up all the vaccines, and we really have just had a great experience with them. “

Bennett also said she is hopeful New York state will continue to allocate funds for these types of programs.

Racquel Steven is a reporter at WXXI News, a media partner of CITY.