Maryland partners with agency to vaccinate Baltimore’s homeless population
Today, Maryland Department of Health Acting Secretary Dennis R. Schrader visited Health Care for the Homeless, a clinic providing comprehensive health care services, including COVID-19 vaccinations and testing, to people experiencing homelessness in Baltimore.
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Reaching underserved, vulnerable and minority populations remains a major focus of Maryland’s COVID-19 vaccination strategy in Baltimore and across the state. Accessing hard-to-reach populations, such as the homeless, to ensure they are tested and vaccinated against COVID-19 is crucial, yet presents unique challenges.
“Partnering with community groups is a major component for Maryland to get shots into the arms of underserved, vulnerable and hard-to-reach populations,” Schrader said. “We are grateful to have Health Care for the Homeless as a partner, for what they do everyday, and the role they are playing in our fight against COVID.”
“Health Care for the Homeless works to ensure that people experiencing homelessness have access to the same integrated, high-quality care that each of us deserves,” said Mr. Kevin Lindamood, MSW, President and CEO of Health Care for the Homeless. “With support from the Maryland Department of Health and the Baltimore City Health Department, we’re offering vaccines every day at our downtown Baltimore clinic while also vaccinating larger groups at congregate facilities. Those living private lives in public spaces and congregate facilities are more likely to contract COVID-19, more likely to suffer health consequences from it, and remain at high risk of transmitting it to others. They’re also least likely to navigate complicated computer-based appointment systems. We appreciate the state’s work to get vaccines directly to community health centers like ours already working closely with prioritized vulnerable populations.”
Health Care for the Homeless annually treats 10,000 patients and began COVID-19 vaccinations in late January 2021. To date, they have administered more than 500 COVID-19 vaccinations and expect to administer 200 per week by the end of March. They have also administered more than 2,000 COVID-19 tests.