Astoria clinic provides virus vaccines to homeless

Katie Frankowicz, The Daily Astorian, Ore.
·1 min read

May 3—Twenty homeless people received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine against the coronavirus at a health and wellness clinic on Thursday at the Astoria Armory.

People who are homeless have been hit particularly hard by the pandemic, but are also among the more difficult groups to reach with resources and information.

Clatsop Community Action, which organized the event, did not set any concrete vaccination goals ahead of the clinic. They planned to offer the vaccine to anyone who wanted it and to answer questions about the vaccine, as well as provide other wellness services.

Susan Prettyman, the agency's social services program manager, said that even being able to give one person the shot was better than nothing.

The event saw 60 people, who took advantage of other services offered at the clinic, including showers. Clatsop Community Action also distributed sleeping bags, clothes, backpacks and other items.

The Clatsop County Public Health Department provided vaccines for the event.

There had been some concern about whether the Johnson & Johnson vaccine would be available after federal health agencies called for a temporary pause in the vaccine's use earlier in April because of a rare blood-clotting disorder. That pause lifted ahead of the clinic.

The single-shot vaccine is ideal for use in the homeless population since it doesn't require people to schedule a second appointment and return in several weeks for another shot, representatives with Clatsop Community Action said.

The county has begun to allow walk-ins at vaccination events involving the Moderna vaccine, but still urges people to sign up on the county's website to help ensure doses are available. As of Friday, 12,513 people — or 31.8% of the county's population — had been fully vaccinated.