COVID-19 vaccines administered at South Bay homeless camp

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — A coalition of South Bay non-profits is finding success in vaccinated homeless people against COVID-19.

Enjoying the shade of a tent and feeling good about finally being vaccinated against COVID-19 here at a pop-up clinic outside a homeless camp on old Oakland Road was Gilbert Varela.

Varela is one of about 100 unhoused people to get the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine this week courtesy of a collaborative outreach campaign by the non-profits “Live Freely, “We Hope” and “Just Serve.”

Between the so-called Jurassic Park camp and a much larger camp near San Jose’s airport, the coalition is averaging about 25 vaccinations per day. Tracking and tracing outbreaks and vaccination rates among the unhoused has been difficult.

The non-profits are bolstering efforts by the county’s valley health which has vaccinated nearly 2,000 unhoused people. Bringing the vaccine to the camps is helping, along with incentives like a hot shower, gift cards and socks along with a hearty meal from the non-profit “Octavia’s Kitchen.”

There are hopes those who got the shot will pass the word to their still unvaccinated camp mates.

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