Atlantic, Cape May counties to provide J&J vaccine to homebound, homeless residents
County health officials in southern New Jersey will distribute Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine doses a little differently than other areas of the state.
Atlantic County health officials will be bringing the new vaccines to residents at their homes through the Meals on Wheels program.
“They are the most vulnerable and they are the ones that were having a difficult time,” says Atlantic County Division of Intergenerational Services director Christine Wilson.
The county was given 500 doses of the J&J vaccine in its first shipment – all of which have already been accounted for.
“They started in Atlantic City [on Wednesday]. I’m not quite sure if they’re complete with doing Atlantic City residents, but I know it’s going to be over a period of time that it’s going to take them to make these arrangements done for these residents,” Wilson says.
And while Atlantic County is distributing the vaccine to homebound residents, Cape May County officials say that they are working to give some of their doses to a different vulnerable population – the homeless.
“To get all population of homeless in one place at one time is very difficult. Then to get them to do it again three weeks later is probably impossible,” says Cape Hope president and CEO Denise South. “The Johnson & Johnson [vaccine] works perfectly for this type of situation.”
Cape Hope is an organization dedicated to helping the homeless. South says that the organization is working with the Cape May County Department of Health to get the vaccine doses and to run a pop-up clinic as soon as next week. But county officials say that they are still not sure how many doses they will receive.
South says that getting the vaccine for the homeless population is important.
“Because of their transitionary lifestyle, they are exposed to the elements at a greater rate than most people are and they’re also having difficulty accessing sanitation, hand sanitizer and personal care items and to socially distance properly,” she says.
Atlantic County says that while the spots for the J&J home delivery are already filled, if they do get another shipment of the vaccine, they will try to set up another round for homebound residents.