The Salt Lake County Health Department has allotted 80 COVID-19 vaccines to the Fourth Street Clinic for people experiencing homelessness.
The clinic will begin vaccinating people over 70 at their headquarters at 409 W. 400 South in Salt Lake City early next week. The Clinic’s Mobile Health Care program will distribute vaccines at homeless resource centers the week after.
Any extra vaccines will be given to people with pre-existing health conditions followed by clients at homeless resource centers that want to be vaccinated, unvaccinated staff at community sites that partner with the clinic and household members of Fourth Street Clinic workers.
“It’s difficult enough for someone experiencing homelessness to access basic health services, like getting vaccinated,” said Fourth Street Clinic CEO Janida Emerson in a news release. “Asking someone without transportation to drive to a county vaccination site ultimately means they won’t get the vaccine. We asked the county to allocate doses of the COVID vaccine to increase access to those most affected by the virus.”
People experiencing homelessness are thought to be at higher risk of contracting COVID-19 than the general population because it is hard to social distance in shelters and it is difficult to wash one’s hands all the time in an encampment. The virus has already posed a threat to unhoused people in Utah. Cases broke out in Salt Lake County homeless shelters in September, and two people died in October after an outbreak at an Ogden shelter.