Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases appeared on Meet the Press on Sunday February 28, 2021, to discuss the third vaccine approved for emergency use against the spread of the COVID-19. He provided the grim reality of this highly infectious and dangerously adaptable virus, and he urged Americans to take whichever vaccine becomes available to them when they become eligible.
The National Coalition for the Homeless supports experts like Dr. Fauci and the health care professionals at the National Healthcare for the Homeless Council (NHCHC) who are recommending that all those experiencing homelessness and those serving homeless people take whichever vaccine is available as soon as possible. COVID-19 has decimated fragile populations in the United States especially members of minority populations such as African Americans, Latinx, and Native Americans. Any level of protection against this killer is going to be essential to protect the homeless community.
To that end most of our staff are people with previous experience with homelessness, many either have been, or are in line to be immunized against the coronavirus. We trust the scientists and hundreds of thousands of hours of research, oversight and testing that went into developing these vaccines. It is not worth the risk waiting for the one shot from Johnson and Johnson. We urge our friends who we serve every single day to get the first shot offered. We implore that all those working in the shelters and social service networks in the United States seek out the first vaccine available to them. We need everyone to get the vaccine as soon as possible so that we can return to finding solutions to all the other barriers facing the population. We need you to be healthy and capable of receiving that key to the front door of a brand new apartment when it is ready for you.
In the words of our friends at the National Healthcare for the Homeless Council (NHCHC), experts who have the trust of the homeless community,
COVID-19 vaccines are an essential part of ending this pandemic, but there are many challenges to ensuring successful and equitable vaccination campaigns. A number of key factors will influence the success of these campaigns for people experiencing homelessness and the providers who serve them. Health centers and homeless service providers should be taking action steps now to create an intentional operations plan, an effective communication and engagement strategy, and broad community partnerships to ensure COVID-19 vaccines are available to everyone.
Click here for more information from the NHCHC. There is an easy to use dashboard and local resources available to local doctors and health care professionals.
Please do your part to keep our community safe: get the vaccine as soon as you can!