Father Joe's readies vaccination efforts for homeless San Diegans

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Posted at 1:29 PM, Feb 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-01 16:29:46-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Father Joe's Villages is preparing to vaccinate San Diegans experiencing homelessness once cleared by California's vaccine distribution phases.

The organization says it will launch vaccination efforts once homeless individuals who at at-risk are cleared for access. Father Joe's will initially focus on those who fall into the Phase 1B group of the state's rollout plan.

Father Joe's says it will offer vaccinations at congregate living shelters with the help of the county. Outreach teams will also provide education on vaccinations to those living at Father Joe's shelters and those living on the street.

"Father Joe’s Villages’ is dedicated to supporting the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccination to the people we serve," said Deacon Jim Vargas, president and chief executive officer at Father Joe’s Villages. "By prioritizing the health of our neighbors experiencing homelessness, we are creating a San Diego where the lives of all residents are valued and worth protecting, regardless of race, creed or socio-economic background. Father Joe’s Villages will continue to advocate for a process that increases access to the vaccine with compassion and dignity."

The organization says it will launch a special fund to cover the increased costs of staffing hours, expenses, and the necessary equipment to carry out the large-scale vaccination effort.

The National Health Care for the Homeless Council says people who are homeless are at high risk of contracting COVID-19 and are more likely to experience negative health outcomes.

"Disproportionate levels of chronic illness and disability, as well as the conditions of living on the streets, means our neighbors who are experiencing homelessness are more at-risk of serious health consequences due to COVID-19," said Dr. Jeffrey Norris, chief medical officer at Father Joe’s Villages. "It’s critical that our community prioritizes vaccine distribution for these citizens and those who have been working on the frontlines to protect our community’s health and safety."