Rochester, New York — Almost three-quarters of the state’s population, over 14.5 million people across all of New York are fully vaccinated. But when you narrow down zip codes in rural counties or urban communities like 14613 in Rochester, more than half the eligible population is still unvaccinated.
19 of the 30 zip codes in Monroe County with the lowest vaccine rates, are in Rochester. Neighborhoods in the 14613 areas are second to last with only 48.2% fully vaccinated. For Dyyonna Cooper, it’s not a big deal. “I have not thought about it and I don’t believe in it so I’m just not going to get it,” Cooper said.
For people who have asthma and several other medical conditions like Karin House-Goodrich, living around low vaccine rates is a major concern. “The outcome is if they aren’t vaccinated and they end up with COVID they’re going to pass it around to people like me and people are stubborn and that’s just dumb,” she said.
According to locals in these communities, politics and conspiracy theories play a small part in low vaccine rates. While the medical community says the new BA.2 sub-variant may be more contagious than the initial omicron strain, doctors have concluded every vaccine dose still severely lowers its threat.
According to Dr. Emil Lesho an infection disease physician with Rochester General Hospital, “You’re very much unlikely to require hospitalizations or be in the ICU admissions if you’re fully vaccinated and boosted. Even in settings of BA.2.”
Those who are fully vaccinated still have concerns that their neighborhoods are vulnerable to future outbreaks with these current vaccine levels being too low.
Across rural counties in the Finger Lakes region vaccine rates have been even lower than in Rochester.