NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — There's now a new push to get our homeless population vaccinated. The Nashville Metro Public Health Department is partnering with 18 other groups in the effort. The goal is to reach everyone by Memorial Day.
"We're bringing vaccines to the people where they need it," said Brian Haile, CEO of Neighborhood Health. "Our goal to make sure every person experiencing homelessness has the chance to get a COVID-19 vaccination by Memorial Day is within reach for two reasons. First, Metro Public Health braved the elements and vaccinated hundreds of folks during the ice storm. Second, 19 organizations serving the homeless came together to build on that early success and get shots in arms.”
The Metro Public Health Department, Neighborhood Health, and St. Thomas Health are leading a collaborative effort, administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at homeless encampments, shelters, and clinics.
Efforts kicked off last Friday by offering the vaccine at the Nashville Fairgrounds emergency shelter. A total of 45 people at the shelter were vaccinated.
Unlike other initiatives, this one does not require folks to make an appointment ahead of time.
It also provides an opportunity for vaccine education. Haile says someone experiencing homelessness is disproportionately likely to have diabetes or other conditions requiring them to take medication; so a good number of them may not know it's safe to take with the vaccine.
Neighborhood Health will provide follow-up care to any patients experiencing side effects after they depart the observation area of the vaccination events. Patients may walk into the Downtown Clinic (entering through 705 Drexel Street).
Neighborhood Health will do subsequent “second pass” vaccination events at most of these locations to ensure all willing individuals can get vaccinated.
Neighborhood Health will provide onsite vaccinations at larger encampments, including but not limited to Centennial Park, Green Street Church, and other locations. Neighborhood Health will offer the vaccinations during weekday Street Medicine visits to these locations.
You can contact Metro Public Health at (615) 862-7777 or Neighborhood Health at (615) 953-0050 for more information or visit their website at www.nhtn.org/covid19vaccine [nhtn.org]
The following organizations are partners in the collaboration providing support for the outreach initiative:
- Colby’s Army
- Community Care Fellowship
- The Contributor
- Crescent Community Health
- The Little Pantry That Could
- Mental Health Coop
- Metro Homeless Impact Division /Metro Social Services
- Metro Public Health Department
- Nashville Rescue Mission
- Nashville Street Project
- Neighborhood Health
- Oasis Center
- Open Table Nashville
- Park Center
- People Loving Nashville
- Room in the Inn
- Saint Thomas Health/Ascension
- Shower the People