People living in homeless shelters could get vaccinated as soon as this weekend

Coronavirus

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The homeless population is another group that may soon be able to get the COVID-19 vaccine. According to the New York State website, they are included in phase 1B.

People living in homeless shelters could have access to vaccinations as soon as this weekend. But there’s a lot of logistics to figure out before then.

Anna Valeria-Iseman is the executive director of the Open Door Mission.

“Our shelter staff have had access to the vaccine for just about the past week or so and we know the health department in Monroe County has been advocating for the population of people living in our facilities to have that access as well,” Valeria-Iseman said.

People are eligible if they are currently living in a shelter or could encounter one. Valeria-Iseman said one of the main things she’s working on is how to manage the second dose plan.

“They may be with us when it’s time to do the first dose, but they may be hard to reach or unreachable or unaware of what they need to do for that second dose,” she said.

She said one way to manage this is to identify people who stay at the shelter often and for longer periods of time.

“Especially now during the winter, it’s absolutely the time to do it because we have the most people in our shelter that we can rely on to return to shelter and keeping accurate records who has received their first dose and when they need to receive the second dose and sharing it with other shelters.”

She said for many this may be the only way to get the vaccine.

“If they’re not with us they’re either cough surfing or residing with family and friends for a brief period of time or outside in a sheltered area that may not be in communication with the health department and technically they wouldn’t qualify under other guidelines.”

She said they’re still not sure if people will be given the vaccine at the shelter or if they’ll have to transport them somewhere else to get it done.

The Open Door Mission has been testing daily at the shelter. She said they have several people in isolation right now and are still housing many people in an overflow shelter at a hotel.

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