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Mercy partnering with local shelters to provide COVID vaccines to individuals experiencing homelessness

Published: Apr. 15, 2021 at 3:43 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Mercy Medical Center is partnering with local homeless shelters to help provide COVID vaccinations to individuals experiencing homelessness.

A clinic was held at Mercy in downtown Cedar Rapids on Thursday.

Some staff members from local shelters-including Willis Dady Shelter, Waypoint Services, the Catherine McAuley Transitional Housing Program, Catholic Worker House and Safe Place Foundation-walked with their clients to the clinic site. Shelter staff members were also offered vaccinations.

Mercy is holding a similar vaccination clinic on April 20th at the overflow shelter in northwest Cedar Rapids. Follow-up clinics will be scheduled so individuals can receive their second dose of the vaccine.

Staff members at local shelters estimated that approximately 200 individuals were interested in receiving a vaccination at one of the two clinic sites.

“We realize that people experiencing homelessness may not have phone or internet access to schedule an appointment. Transportation may be another barrier,” said Melissa Cullum, Mercy’s Director of Community Benefit. “We want our community to come out of this pandemic and we can do that by getting the vaccine to as many people as possible.”

Cullum also said that individuals experiencing homelessness often live in congregate settings, which can put them at higher risk for contracting COVID-19.

Mercy says they will continue to work with Linn County Public Health and local shelters to vaccinate individuals who may have missed these vaccine clinics.

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