Miami-Dade Homeless Trust Pushing To Get Homeless Seniors Vaccinated

Three homeless seniors from Camillus House received their second COVID-19 vaccine shot on Friday. Read more: https://cbsloc.al/3sbJFKc

Video Transcript

- We know that they are the most vulnerable in society.

KEITH JONES: Now at five, the Covid-19 vaccine rollout continues with the second shot of the vaccine for many of South Florida's homeless senior citizens. The homeless population are considered a high risk group for getting Covid-19 CBS 4's Peter D'oench tells us why this is so important for Miami.

PETER D'OENCH: It's a very susceptible, high risk part of the population. Now there's a push to vaccinate as many homeless people as possible here in Miami-Dade county.

JANET BRISTOL: Everything went fine.

PETER D'OENCH: Janet Bristol had been looking forward to this booster shot.

JANET BRISTOL: Good. I'm pleased that I've done it.

PETER D'OENCH: We were inside Jackson Memorial Hospital as Bristol and two other homeless residents of the Camillus House received their second shots.

JANET BRISTOL: I didn't really feel anything.

PETER D'OENCH: It's a booster with benefits, says Bristol.

JANET BRISTOL: I'd like to go out and go shopping you know, just-- just for some fun.

RON BOOK: We have now scheduled 319 individuals in our homeless continuum to be vaccinated.

PETER D'OENCH: That's a tenth of Miami-Dade's homeless population, says Ron Book, chairman on the Miami-Dade Homeless Trust. We've got 2,500 plus individuals in our sheltered world. We've got another 892 unsheltered on our streets. We know that the homeless population and in particular, the senior citizen population, which we know to be our largest growing homeless population over the last three years in this community, we know that they are the most vulnerable in society. The average homeless person is 13 to 17 fewer years, Peter, than you and I will live. And so getting them vaccinated and getting them vaccinated quickly is important.

PETER D'OENCH: It was a year ago when the Homeless Trust stepped up efforts tied to the pandemic. We have had the most aggressive testing program in the country of any homeless continuum, which is why that is why we have only lost eight lives. It is why we have had fewer than 75 hospitalizations and is why we have only a 1.2-1.3% positivity rate. And if we are going to maintain protecting those individuals and mitigating future spread, including the mutated viruses, it is important to get 100% of our population vaccinated.

PETER D'OENCH: It may sound ambitious but Book hopes Miami-Dade's entire homeless population will be vaccinated by early this summer. And he urges anyone needing inoculations to contact the Miami-Dade Homeless Trust. In Miami, Peter D'oench, CBS 4 news.