This partnership between the federal government and New York State to provide a mass vaccination site in the City of Rochester is a “game changer” in our community’s efforts towards health equity.

The mission of the Finger Lakes COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force is to ensure equitable, transparent, and efficient immunization of at least 70% of the Finger Lakes Region. The federal, state and local partnership places a permanent vaccination site in the heart of the city specifically for those who live in the city.

The new mass vaccination site will open in early March at the former Kodak Hawkeye parking lot on St. Paul & Ave. E. According to New York State, registration for vaccines at the site will initially be restricted to neighborhoods in the City of Rochester to serve those with higher rates of COVID-19 and who have not been effectively served by efforts to date.

New York State and the federal government are working on setting up guidelines for appointments, as well as hours and dates of operation. Scheduling details are expected by the end of the week.

“Today’s announcement is a giant leap forward toward COVID vaccine equity,” said Wade S. Norwood, co-chair of the Finger Lakes Vaccine Task Force and CEO of Common Ground Health. “Governor Cuomo’s and the President’s leadership in response to our community voice will be remembered as historic.

Norwood noted that communities of color have been twice as likely to die from COVID-19 as their White neighbors locally, yet to date they have been less likely to be vaccinated.

“With this new vaccine site, those who have been hardest hit by COVID-19, who have been pushed to the front lines of this terrible pandemic and at the back of the line for vaccination opportunity, will finally be first in line,” he said.

“We know that lack of transportation is a real barrier for folks who don’t have a car,” said Norwood. “This site is much closer to home for residents of some of Rochester most distressed neighborhoods. It is also accessible by bus and for some by foot.”

 “I honor Governor Cuomo and President Biden for prioritizing the health of African Americans and Latinos. This federal emergency vaccination site is, literally, a life saver.”

Vaccine task force co-chair Dr. Nana Bennett said: “We are grateful to the federal and state governments for choosing our city for such an important initiative. We need more vaccines in our region, and we need them to be accessible to all our citizens. This clinic will make a large and significant contribution to our efforts to ensure that no one gets left behind in our efforts to vaccinate all the people of the Finger Lakes region.”

Federal agencies, including FEMA, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Defense and other federal agencies, will partner to provide federal clinical and non-clinical staff for the vaccine sites. The National Guard, New York State, The Finger Lakes Vaccine Task Force, local leaders and community based organizations will work together to operate the site. For more information as it becomes available visit:

Media Contacts:

Susan Hagen, Common Ground Health: