In consultation with public health and housing assistance partners, CDC identified six urban, public health jurisdictions, including Hennepin County, with data on COVID-19 vaccination coverage among people experiencing homelessness. The vaccination data was reported between December 13, 2020 and August 31, 2021.
The vaccination coverage and population size for the general population in each community were obtained from the health department. Full vaccination coverage among people experiencing homelessness ranged from 19% to 45% in the six jurisdictions, compared with 44% to 60% for all residents living in the same area.
Hennepin Healthcare Research Institute (HHRI) investigators Tyler Winkelman, MD, MSc and Kate Diaz Vickery, MD, MSc conducted the study with Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and CDC partners. Dr. Winkelman and Dr. Vickery are co-directors of HHRI’s Health Homelessness and Criminal Justice lab.
In every jurisdiction, full vaccination coverage among people experiencing homelessness was significantly lower compared with all residents living in the same area.
“An estimate of Hennepin County’s vaccination rate is greater than or equal to one dose (> 1 dose) among people experiencing homelessness, which is 28.6% compared to the general county population of 64.8%,” said HHRI investigator Kate Diaz Vickery, MD, MSc.
COVID-19 vaccination coverage can be improved by strengthening partnerships across health departments, health care clinics, and service providers who help people who are experiencing homelessness. Vaccine access for people experiencing homelessness can be improved by using multiple strategies, including “pop-up” vaccination clinics in convenient locations, mobile clinics with trusted providers, and outreach teams.
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