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Homeless people in San Angelo can get free J&J COVID-19 vaccinations

Community organizations and the State of Texas are pushing for more people to get vaccinated in San Angelo.
Credit: Liv Johnson

SAN ANGELO, Texas — The Concho Valley Homeless Planning Coalition, in coordination with the Department of State Health Services, has scheduled a Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccination clinic for homeless individuals in the Concho Valley. 

This clinic is being funded through state grants and donations. COSA Neighborhood & Family Services Director Robert “Bob” Salas says the number of homeless people in San Angelo fluctuates every year but as of now there are about 70 homeless people recorded.

The Department of State Health Clinics have been holding clinics throughout the state since the beginning of the pandemic. They eventually reached out to a board member at the Coalition to see if they would be interested in participating and the board was open to doing it. 

The coalition’s role was to set up a location, date, and time. They are also responsible for drumming up interest in the homeless to get vaccinated. The state is responsible for providing the vaccine as well as all other medical needs for the vaccination to be done. 

Many questions were circulated in the community, like why the Johnson and Johnson vaccine was chosen for the homeless to use after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention just recently advised people to get it again.

“J&J is used for this free clinic because it’s the only vaccine that requires one shot. Many homeless people don’t have access to go to a clinic twice. We wanted to make this an easy process to get as many people vaccinated as we can.” Salas said. 

Another question raised was why a $10 incentive is being done for the first 30 people vaccinated.

“We did the $10 incentive to encourage more people to get vaccinated. The state asked us to drum up interest and that’s what the board decided on. After getting vaccinated, the money could go to them getting food, water, or anything they may need. It’s more helpful than a pair of socks for example.” Salas mentioned. 

If the vaccination clinic post was only posted on Facebook, how are the homeless informed about it? Salas says posting on Facebook gives the people who know homeless people the opportunity to inform the homeless about what’s happening. The coalition is also in contact with homeless individuals on a daily basis so word of mouth plays a large role in making this happen.