Notations on Our World (Special Edition): On COVID & Ensuring Vaccine Confidence For the Homeless

Ensuring Vaccine Confidence for People Experiencing Homelessness

In light of the current pause of the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, the Alliance encourages all system leaders and providers to continue to prioritize people experiencing homelessness for vaccination. 
During this time, it is important that communities work to ensure vaccine confidence. Maintaining communication with people experiencing homelessness is central to this effort.
To date, the adverse effects associated with the Johnson and Johnson vaccine have been severe but rare; six of the 7.5 million people who received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine have reported blood clots. Similar adverse effects have not been reported for the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines.

The Alliance encourages communities to follow the following guidance provided by the National Healthcare for the Homeless Council:
  1. Vaccine planning in your community must continue even during the disruption caused by this pause; please continue to meet and establish a plan B regardless of fluctuations in particular vaccine availability.
  2. If clients decline a particular vaccine, have a procedure in place to refer them to a setting that can provide the preferred vaccine (e.g., at a health center or other clinical location).
  3. Multiple studies have established the very significant threat of death or severe illness from COVID-19. While very rare side effects may occur with any of the vaccines currently approved for use, COVID-19 remains the most serious risk.
  4. If clients received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the past three weeks AND are newly experiencing any of the following symptoms, please provide medical care and report significant side effects to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System:
    • Severe headache
    • Backache
    • Abdominal pain
    • Shortness of breath
    • Leg swelling
    • New or easy bruising
    • Blurred vision
    • Fainting or loss of consciousness
    • Loss of control over movement in part of the body
    • Seizures
    • Coma


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