Interim guidance for health departments : COVID-19 vaccination implementation for people experiencing homelessness
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Interim guidance for health departments : COVID-19 vaccination implementation for people experiencing homelessness

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      Updated May 16, 2022

      Vaccination for people experiencing homelessness is important. Homeless services are often provided in congregate settings, which could facilitate the spread of infection, including infection caused by the virus that causes COVID-19. Because many people who are homeless are older adults or have underlying medical conditions, they may also be at increased risk for severe illness. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends that, when supplies of COVID-19 vaccine are limited, vaccination should be offered in a phased approach. Public health professionals at state and local health departments are working on how to distribute COVID-19 vaccines in a fair, ethical, and transparent way for different groups, including people experiencing homelessness. Because of the increased risk described above, some states have prioritized people experiencing homelessness and homeless service staff in earlier vaccination phases.

      When implementing the vaccination phases, it is important to consider that people experiencing homelessness might have low levels of trust in the medical system and often have difficulty accessing vaccinations through traditional healthcare delivery methods, such as clinics or health departments. Lessons learned from hepatitis A outbreaks show us that offering vaccination in homeless service sites and places where people experiencing homelessness visit, as well as using mobile units, are important strategies. This webpage outlines implementation strategies to improve delivery of COVID-19 vaccination services to people experiencing homelessness. Please review Vaccination Implementation Strategies to Consider for Populations Recommended to Receive Initial Doses of COVID-19 Vaccine for general considerations for vaccination implementation.

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