homelessness

Pop-Up COVID-19 Vaccination Site Supports Homeless Community in DC

The effort aims to vaccinate 100 people with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine

pop-up vaccination site
As seen on NBC Washington

The Department of Human Services partnered with Miriam’s Kitchen to set up a mobile clinic on Wednesday to vaccinate those experiencing homelessness in the District.

The pop-up effort was set up outside the Western Presbyterian Church.

"They don’t have the opportunity to necessarily decide who’s going to be sleeping next to them, or who’s going to be coughing on them — those types of things,” said Dr. Ann Cardile from Unity Health Care, who is part of the team administering the vaccines. “So they’re an extraordinarily vulnerable population, and it’s extraordinarily important that we help them be protected.”

The effort aims to vaccinate 100 people with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which only requires one shot.

“It’s so important for people who are, for instance, experiencing homelessness, especially in sheltered homelessness,” Cardile said. “Because it can be difficult for them to get it and come back two, four weeks later and get the exact same shot.”

No one has to present an ID — an effort initiated in hopes of not deterring those without them or who are undocumented.

Scott Schenkelberg is the CEO of Miriam’s Kitchen, which distributes meals to those in need.

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“It gives me great joy to see so many of our guests getting this kind of protection from a really deadly disease,” Schenkelberg said.

When the pandemic struck the District over a year ago, Miriam’s Kitchen took on a different task.

“One of our jobs among many is to help educate them on basic health care issues — including the necessity of taking precautions around COVID-19 and, of course, to vaccinate,” Schenkelberg said.

The District and its partners hope to continue this effort through more pop-up vaccination sites, but they say it’s largely dependent on the number of doses they receive.

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