Statement on Prioritizing the Johnson and Johnson Vaccine for People Experiencing Homelessness
Joel John Roberts, CEO of People Assisting the Homeless (PATH) released the following statement:
“As the CEO of one of the largest homeless service providers in California, I am calling on the Governor and Public Health agencies to prioritize the distribution of the one-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccines to people experiencing homelessness.
There are many barriers to accessing a second vaccine for an individual that is unhoused. This population often lacks access to transportation and cellular devices to schedule appointments and can be very hard-to-reach. Even for people who are stably housed, accessing a second shot has proven difficult.
We know that this vaccine can be easily stored at 36 – 46 degrees Fahrenheit, compared to Pfizer and Moderna vaccines which need to be stored at -4 degrees Fahrenheit. With storage made easier, we now have an opportunity to safely distribute the vaccine to people with limited access to medical care. Additionally, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine also provides a one-dose, potentially life-saving alternative for our communities who have not been able to make appointments to get vaccinated.
The State of California just received 380,000 doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine and this provides an opportunity to prioritize specialized distribution to those most in need who have been heavily impacted by the pandemic due to job loss, eviction, and economic inequities.
People Assisting the Homeless (PATH) is already working with community partners to help our clients access any available vaccine and to provide vaccine clinics at our permanent supportive housing sites. Ultimately, the Johnson and Johnson vaccine is another tool in our toolbox to slow the transmission and reduce deaths from COVID-19. When it comes to inoculating some of our unhoused neighbors, we have one shot to get this right.”
Founded in 1984, PATH is committed to ending homelessness for individuals, families, and communities in California. We do this by building affordable supportive housing and providing homeless services in more than 140 cities across the state. Our services support nearly 20 percent of the state’s population experiencing homelessness. Since 2013, PATH has helped more than 11,800 people move into permanent homes. More information at www.epath.org.
For more information or to interview Joel please contact Tyler Renner at (619)712-9121.