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State-FEMA mass vaccination site opens at old Kodak Hawkeye building


Hundreds of Rochester residents received their first dose of the COVID vaccine Wednesday at the former Kodak Hawkeye location on St. Paul Street.

New York and FEMA run the site, which is one of four mass vaccination clinics opened around the state to make the vaccine more accessible to underserved communities.

Health care worker Rico Jemison and his wife, Wilma, received their first dose together. Wilma has underlying health conditions, which qualifies her to receive a vaccine. Jemison said trying to schedule his wife’s vaccination appointment had become tedious because most places were booked 15 weeks out.

“When this came out, we were able to get it set up within a day," said Jemison.

Jemison said now that he and his wife are finally vaccinated, he’s hopeful and looking forward to the end of the pandemic.

Appointments opened up last week, along with a multi-faceted campaign to fill the first slots reserved exclusively for Rochester residents living in ZIP codes 14603, 14604, 14605, 14606, 14608, 14609, 14611, 14613, 14614, 14615, 14619, and 14621.

Rochester resident Dee Bennet received her first dose on Wednesday. She said she was surprised with how organized it was.

“It just felt like my average flu shot that I take every year," said Bennet, who encouraged other eligible people to register.

“Take advantage of the time slots," said Bennet. “Make the appointment. The wait wasn’t long, and I am glad I finally have it, I needed to get it.”

As of Wednesday, all qualifying Monroe County residents are able to schedule a vaccination appointment at the site.

Onsite registration is also available to a limited number of people. Margaret Mercado, a cancer survivor, successfully scheduled an appointment for later this month.

“I tried to communicate with my doctor about this (vaccine), but I never received an answer," Mercado said. "So I received a call from a friend this morning saying go and try.”

28,000 vaccinations are set to be administered at the FEMA- and state-run facility between March and April. Qualifying Monroe County residents can schedule vaccination appointments by calling 311 or through New York’s “Am I Eligible” website.

April Franklin is a reporter for WXXI, a media partner of CITY.