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City and Partners Vaccinating Unsheltered Community Members

222 people have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at WEHC and Wellness Hotels; more events planned.

April 14, 2021

The City of Albuquerque has been working with partners throughout the past year to keep people safe and healthy as we navigate the pandemic as a community, and that includes making vaccines available to people experiencing homelessness. So far, 345 doses have been given to individuals at the Westside Emergency Housing Center (WEHC) and the City’s three wellness hotels, with 148 people fully vaccinated and an 84% second dose vaccination rate.

“Vaccinations are a critical component of keeping people safe from this virus and we will continue to ensure that everyone has a chance to be protected, including our unsheltered community members,” said Mayor Tim Keller.

The 11 vaccination events across 4 shelter locations have taken place since January and included many groups teaming up in the spirit of One Albuquerque. In addition to the City’s Family and Community Services Department, Emergency Operations Center and Albuquerque Fire Rescue, these events included support from Albertsons Market Pharmacy, Walgreens Pharmacy, UNM Health Sciences Center medical students, NM DOH Medical Reserve Corps physicians, Heading Home, and the WEHC medical team.

“This coordinated effort to make vaccines available at shelter locations is critical to the safety of our guests and we are grateful to all of the partners who have helped make it happen,” said Carol Pierce, Director of Family and Community Services.

In addition to vaccinations, the City has worked to keep unsheltered people safe during the pandemic by:

  • Providing shelter to a record 800-900 people each night during the cold months, including 200 youth
  • Opening the WEHC to be 24/7
  • Hiring a medical director who put in place COVID screening, testing and mitigation efforts at City shelters
  • Opening wellness hotels
  • Providing emergency motel vouchers during extreme weather events
  • Conducting targeted outreach to people living in camps and on the street

The City’s EOC also has been working to get Albuquerque residents vaccinated and has coordinated 44 points of dispensation (PODS) that have administered 18,015 doses and have 12 more PODS scheduled with an estimate of 8,840 more doses.

With more phases open under the NM Department of Health, the City will continue to work with our partners to offer vaccinations to people experiencing homelessness throughout Albuquerque.