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Posts Tagged ‘Public Health’

COVID Vaccination and Homelessness

Written by admin on . Posted in Blog

As states roll out vaccinations, we encourage public health officials to make vaccinating people experiencing homelessness and homeless service front-line workers a top priority. Click here to view current state vaccination priority lists

Here are some specifics from the Centers on Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) on the COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S.: 

  • There are two COVID-19 vaccines currently authorized and recommended for use in the United States, and three other vaccines are currently in large-scale clinical trials. To learn more about the different vaccines for COVID-19 and how vaccines work, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/different-vaccines.html
  • COVID-19 mRNA vaccines teach our cells how to make a piece of a protein to trigger an immune response and build immunity to the virus that causes COVID-19. mRNA does not affect or interact with a person’s DNA, and the cell breaks down and gets rid of the mRNA as soon as it is finished using these instructions.Learn about mRNA vaccines and how they work: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/different-vaccines/mrna.html
  • None of the COVID-19 vaccines currently authorized for use in the United States uses the live virus that causes COVID-19. You may have symptoms like a fever after you get a vaccine. This is normal and a sign that your immune system is learning how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19. Learn more about the facts behind COVID-19 vaccines: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/facts.html
  • How many people need to get a COVID- 19 vaccine for herd immunity?Herd immunity means that enough people in a community are protected from getting a disease because they’ve already had the disease or they’ve been vaccinated. Herd immunity makes it hard for the disease to spread from person to person, and it even protects those who cannot be vaccinated, like newborns. While experts don’t yet know what percentage of people would need to get vaccinated to achieve herd immunity, vaccination is a safer way to build protection than getting sick with COVID-19.Have a question about COVID-19 vaccines? See answers to our most frequently asked questions:  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/faq.html

If your community or organization is in need of face masks for the personal protection of people experiencing homelessness from COVID, please contact us at info @ nationalhomeless.org to request free shipments of between 100-5,000 masks. 

What homeless folks should know about Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Written by admin on . Posted in Awareness, Blog, Healthcare

Updated 3/10/2020

With any public health or natural disaster emergency, those who are unhoused are often more at risk for poor health outcomes or other trauma. We understand that spread of communicable disease is much easier without adequate access to hygiene facilities or a safe home, so we wanted to share a few resources for those experiencing homelessness or service providers. 

The current outbreak of the novel corona virus that started in China spreads much the same way as the flu, through person to person contact, especially through droplets in the air produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Symptoms can include: fever, cough and shortness of breath.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) believes at this time that symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure. Most infections in healthy children and adults are mild, the greatest danger is with those who have health conditions that limit the capacity of one’s immune system.

While there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection in someone experiencing homelessness in the U.S., we are concerned that people who already lack ready access to hygiene facilities, a safe home and in many cases, adequate health care, will be especially vulnerable to complications from the spread of the virus. To prevent spread of the virus, the CDC recommends washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty. 

But what if you don’t have anywhere to wash your hands, or a home to stay away from crowds?
 Read: What if you can’t stay home?

Our recommendations:

  • More broadly realize that everyone who may be experiencing homelessness would not be in as great a risk of poor health outcomes, or spread of COVID-19, if they had access to safe, decent, affordable and accessible housing. We still have a lot of work to do to address the underlying income inequality and lack of low-cost housing that has perpetuated homelessness for decades.
  • Ensure that national, state and community-level public health/pandemic planning and response includes the homeless population and homeless service agencies.
  • Cities should provide hygiene facilities (port-a-potties, hand-washing stations) and trash pickup for residents of encampments – during and after any pandemic has passed.
  • There should be a moratorium on encampment sweeps that displace already displaced households and that often cause the loss of personal property that includes medication and other life-sustaining items.
  • All tests, treatment and quarantine locations should be offered without cost for all members of the community – housed or not, with or without health insurance.
  • Each community should identify space that those who do not have a permanent home can access in case of quarantine. Any costs should come out of community-level public health resources.
  • Federally, we would discourage homeless dollars being used to provide quarantine, testing or treatment. Homeless services are already woefully underfunded, and widespread homelessness was ALREADY a public health emergency!
  • Finally, we are concerned for the safety of unhoused folks who may be discharged from medical care to make room for COVID-19 treatment. This has happened in other emergency settings.  

If you are:

  • Experiencing symptoms? Please go to your nearest hospital or healthcare facility. Click here to find your closes Healthcare for the Homeless clinic. 
  • A service agency administering to vulnerable folks? Click here for CDC Posters to post in public areas about the spread of COVID-19, and see the additional resources below. 
  • An outreach worker or concerned citizen, consider stocking up on bottles of hand sanitizer or wipes to hand out to folks staying in encampments or other outdoor locations. 

Resources:

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