EL PASO, Texas -- It's a population that often gets overlooked, but El Paso County organizations are working to make sure the homeless population has the ability to receive a Covid-19 vaccine.
More than 500 residents living at emergency and transitional shelters have received the Johnson & Johnson one-dose vaccine thanks to the El Paso Coalition for the Homeless and the El Paso Office of Emergency Management. The two have been partners throughout the pandemic.
OEM and the homeless coalition worked to create vaccine clinics to give people who are living on the street the same opportunity.
The process was relatively smooth, but outreach teams needed time to let people know about the event, according to project director for the coalition, Camille Castillo.
"For the folks living on the street, that's a little bit challenging... because the county is pretty vast," Castillo said. "As far as coordination, it was relatively quick."
The vaccine clinics were held in late June outside four El Paso police command centers throughout the city.
"Transportation was available to them to be able to pick them up wherever they were, and then to take them back," Castillo said.
Only 40 people were vaccinated at these clinics, as vaccine hesitancy is still an issue.
Castillo said outreach teams received a mixed reaction from people about receiving a Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The location site could have also been a factor.
"It's a little bit concerning," Castillo said. "We might take a different approach next time and to maybe, you know, ask one of the truck stops if we'd be able to take a little corner and see if we can get folks out way."
As of right now, no other clinics have been scheduled. Outreach teams are still meeting with the homeless asking if they're interested but many are still on the fence.
Castillo said if outreach teams come across some who does change their mind and wants to get vaccinated, they would be able to make accommodations and get them a vaccine.