Vaccinating The Homeless In Sacramento

One hundred of the single-dose Johnson and Johnson coronavirus vaccines were given to the homeless population in downtown Sacramento.

Video Transcript

- Well, shots on the sidewalk. That was the case today in downtown Sacramento where many homeless people received their COVID vaccine.

- "CBS 13's" Rachel Wolf with a different shot of hope it's giving some.

RACHEL WOLF: Four Sacramento fire paramedics worked with homeless advocates and UC Davis Health to get shots into the arms of those who needed living on the streets.

So your 97-year-old mom?

- She said-- 97. She said, if you don't get the shot, I'm not coming to see you.

RACHEL WOLF: Joseph, who didn't want a show his face, didn't qualify to receive the vaccine until this week. He was happy to receive one of the 100 doses of the Johnson & Johnson one and done vaccine so he can get back to finding a job.

- It makes it really hard, and especially when you can't go anywhere to do anything. I stay away from people more than I associate people.

RACHEL WOLF: Tracking people down proved more difficult than initially thought.

- The occupants of these camps are either sleeping, or they're in another area right now. And then they come here later in the day.

RACHEL WOLF: And for those they could find, not everyone wanted the vaccine.

- It seems to be a challenge to get to the homeless community and make them aware that this is-- it's a good thing.

MK ORSULAK: It is our goal and duty to offer-- to offer it to people and let them make the decision.

RACHEL WOLF: Dr. MK Orsulak, who championed the effort, says the goal is meeting people where they are.

MK ORSULAK: 'Cause I, like, really do believed that we have to work harder and better at decreasing the barriers to health care.

RACHEL WOLF: But there was a race against time.

- Once we make a draw out of one of our vials, we actually had two hours that we have to administer it.

RACHEL WOLF: In a time when some criticized the state's decision to move homeless to the front of the line for vaccines.

- There's a lot of things that they're at the back of the line for.

RACHEL WOLF: A really small step most feel that has a big impact for those like Joseph trying to get back on their feet.

- It's make me feel good that I can go and do things without being afraid to touch anyone.