Protect the Homeless From Covid

Target: Xavier Bacerra, U.S. Secretary of Health & Human Services

Goal: Create national plan of action for vaccinating America’s homeless population.

As vaccine supplies ramp up and demand goes down across America, one marginalized and especially at-risk group has largely been left on the sidelines. The nation’s homeless are subject to unsanitary and often-crowded conditions that make taking even the most basic health safety precautions nearly impossible. These individuals also lack access to personal protective equipment and have higher rates of many of the conditions that render them vulnerable to severe COVID-19 infection. Despite their enormous risk factors, the homeless often are the last in line to receive life-saving vaccines.

Some promising bright spots across the nation have helped alleviate the plight of homeless citizens, however. Local organizations have adopted approaches such as offering transportation to vaccination sites for the homeless. Many have also deployed mobile vaccine clinics like “backpack teams,” wherein the vaccinators go directly to homeless camps and shelters. A concerted outreach effort to connect with these groups and educate them about the vaccines and their benefits (often with advocates who have experienced homelessness themselves) has also bolstered vaccination rates. For individuals and families grateful for a service many deemed out of their reach, these efforts mean everything.

Sign the petition below to encourage comprehensive vaccination campaigns for the homeless on a national level.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Secretary Bacerra,

The United States will need roughly 80 percent vaccine intake to reach herd immunity and finally put the pandemic in the past. In spite of dosages increases to cover every American, supply could soon outweigh demand. As people around the world desperately wait for their opportunity to receive a life-saving shot, too many American will unfortunately refuse this gift and take it for granted. Meanwhile, an abundance of their fellow American who want and need this aid will still lack critical access.

The homeless represent an often-forgotten sector of our population who will ultimately prove critical in helping end the COVID-19 pandemic. Numerous risk factors have done little to improve this population’s standing in vaccine prioritization. Access remains a huge barrier. Yet organizations from San Jose, California to Maricopa County, Arizona offer essential rays of hope. With committed education campaigns, mobile deployment units, and transportation offerings, these forward thinkers have accomplished a herculean task. One Phoenix-based organization alone managed to vaccinate 500 of the city’s homeless in a matter of days.

Please take a crucial cue from these advocates. Do not let vaccine supplies go to waste. Invest in a nationwide effort to vaccinate and safeguard America’s homeless.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Sergio Omass


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