Albany County ran a COVID-19 vaccine clinic for homeless individuals at the Capital City Rescue Mission in Albany Tuesday.
Albany County Legislature Chairman Andrew Joyce and Sheriff Craig Apple partnered with Capital City Rescue Mission Executive Director Perry Jones to help get eligible individuals vaccinated during a pod at the South Pearl Street mission.
Joyce says the goal of the pod is to vaccinate a vulnerable population that has been difficult to reach.
"The homeless population in Albany County is both high risk and hard to target," Joyce said. "It's also especially important to get the homeless vaccinated because of the comorbidities that exist, and also this population frequent shelters, which makes it difficult to do social distancing. So it's part of our mission and local government to do fair and equitable, you know, vaccination efforts across all populations, you know, all walks of life, and this one in particular is very important that we get."
Joyce says the recent increase of vaccine doses in Albany County is allowing for additional opportunities for the most at-risk population to be inoculated in more convenient neighborhood-based settings.
Apple says the one-shot Johnson and Johnson vaccine was administered.
"This is perfect because it's one and done," Apple said. "And we can hit the communities that need it the most that aren't so sure that we get them back for the second shot."
Nelson Martinez hasn't been homeless for three years but keeps close ties with the mission. He says getting the shot was painless.
"Everything's good," Martinez said. "I just got to sit around for a few minutes and see what happens."
Martinez was fine, had no immediate after-effects and hopes everyone will get vaccinated.
Jones says the mission serves about 230 people a night and throughout the pandemic has seen only about 10 cases.
"I think it's awesome," Jones said. "You know, the fact that we're getting, the homeless are spotlighted for vaccinations. That tells you something about the culture, that there's a real kindness there, because you know, they're the least, the last and the lost I call them you know what I mean? And so they're the ones that aren't always upfront to get everything. We're happy for them and that this has got to be good for us too, because now there's, they're vaccinated understand with us and it gives you a layer of protection."
Sheriff Apple adds more than 100 inmates are signed up to be vaccinated at the Albany County jail this Thursday. He says there are no COVID cases at the facility following a February outbreak that saw nearly 200 inmates and roughly 80 correction officers infected. The sheriff says his department will continue to administer vaccines to hard to reach communities, including those in the rural areas of Albany County.