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Pasadena Homeless Outreach Team Distributes COVID-19 Vaccinations

Published on Thursday, July 15, 2021 | 5:59 pm
A Pasadena Public Health Department nurse administers a COVID-19 vaccine during a homeless outreach effort on June 14, 2021. (Credit: City of Pasadena)

The Pasadena Outreach Response Response Team partnered with Pasadena Public Health Department nurses Wednesday to offer COVID-19 vaccines to the city’s homeless residents.

PORT, which is made up of a firefighter, a social worker and a Union Station Homeless Services representative, joined up with public health nurses to meet with those experiencing homelessness in the area and offer them vaccines, along with other services, Pasadena Fire Department Firefighter Tony Zee said.

Unsure how many people would accept the vaccination offer, and knowing the vaccines have a shelf life measured in hours once pulled from refrigeration, the team headed out with five doses of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine formulation, according to Zee. But before long, all five had been distributed.

“We went into the community and we went to encampments. We went to Central Park. We went to places all over the city where we frequently see homeless people and asked them if they wanted the vaccine,” he said.

“And because our team has been working with the homeless for about two years now, we know a lot of the people, so we were able to meet them and say, ‘Hey, we got the vaccine with us right here on the spot. Do you want it?’”

Zee said the team will likely try again within the next couple weeks, bringing more vaccine doses along.

“Not only was this good to get people on the streets vaccinated, but it also allowed our teams to engage and provide further services for substance abuse treatment, mental health, a doctor’s visit, or start the process of getting them permanent housing,” Zee said. “So it was a good connection also in that sense, not just getting vaccinated, but for us to get to know the individuals in the city of Pasadena.”

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