Health Care District partners with West Palm Beach outreach center to vaccinate people experiencing homelessness

'Our population has suffered the most'
Posted at 6:26 PM, Apr 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-05 19:09:22-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Tamika Manning says it’s almost difficult to describe how she feels after getting the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.

“A relief… very much,” she said.

Manning says before a mobile vaccination site popped up outside of St. Ann Place, Monday morning, she didn’t know how she would be able to gain access to a COVID-19 vaccine. Manning is currently experiencing homelessness.

“Prior to today, I was skeptical about getting it,” she said.

“Our population has really suffered the most,” John Pescosolido said.

Pescosolido is the Executive Director of St. Ann Place, an outreach center for services to people experiencing homelessness.

“When you lack adequate housing or a place to stay health is a big issue,” he said.

They partnered with the Health Care District of Palm Beach County to offer around 100 doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, calling it a one stop shop vaccination event.

“This vaccine is perfect for those walk-up sites, so we don’t need to come back and schedule second appointment,” Belma Andrac, Chief Medical Officer of Healthcare District said. “But we continue to provide Pfizer and Moderna at all our other vaccination sites and schedule people for second appointments.”

As for next steps. James Green the Executive Director of Palm Beach County’s Community Services Department says the Health Care District will be working with their shelters and Homeless Outreach Team to identify additional locations.

He says educating people experiencing homelessness about the vaccine is also a big priority and the number of events will depend on the demand.

“It’s a wonderful relief,” Manning said.