Homeless New Yorkers Are High Risk for COVID-19 Infections, But Vaccinating Them is a Big Challenge | The State

Many are nomadic and increase the risk more

Photo:
Andrés Correa Guatarasma / Courtesy

In addition to health workers, those over 65, police, firefighters and teachers, Another critical population of New York has since last week priority to access the scarce vaccines against the coronavirus: the homeless. The problem is how to track them, in the case of those who do not live in official shelters or authorized hotels.

There are currently an estimated 60,000 homeless in NYC alone, many of them with mental health problems and who move around the city.

In single adult shelters an average of 8 to 12 people share a room, and they can already get vaccinated. Families with children residing in shelters are not eligible because they live in separate units and do not share dining areas like people do in hotels, he detailed. Gothamist.

The Department of Homeless Services (DHS) and the City Council have responded to repeated requests for comment about how many homeless New Yorkers have been vaccinated in the past week. But Based on criteria outlined by the state, 18,000 single adults living in NYC shelters could be eligible.

The city has activated a vaccination center in a shelter specifically for the homeless population and plans to add several more. DHS has also been distributing brochures in dormitory-style shelters that advise signing up for vaccination appointments on sites that are open to the general public.

At the same time that New York is trying to vaccinate the homeless, it is facing An even bigger challenge: both city and state officials said they are on track to run out of vaccine doses.

He Councilor Stephen Levin, who oversees homeless services as chair of the General Welfare Committee, echoed concerns about the unknowns surrounding the city’s plan to vaccinate the homeless. “We really don’t know what their plans are,” he criticized. And “It is difficult to measure how effective they will be.”

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