We went through a really scary time trying to make the case for our guests and staff to be vaccinated. Homelessness services were not included as a high-risk profession and people experiencing homelessness were not judged as vulnerable enough to be prioritised for the vaccine (despite the really high comorbidity of conditions that make your outcomes from and chances of catching COVID-19 much worse and being homeless).
The North Central London vaccination effort, and especially the Camden community services, were really proactive in reaching out to groups working directly with rough sleepers to ensure we were included. Thankfully, those experiencing homelessness were given priority.
We worked with the Find & Treat team at Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust and they were able to offer a vaccination clinic on site in our shelter and a Q&A with guests to ensure there were as few barriers as possible for our guests taking up the vaccine.
We can’t say for certain what would have happened if we hadn’t been supported by the NHS on this, but there were many vulnerable guests who would not have otherwise had the vaccine so quickly at a time when they are in crisis, surrounded by misinformation about the vaccine and at the worst time in their lives to be making positive choices about their health.