Salvation Army homeless vaccinated with J&J vaccine

Long-term residents of York Street hostel avail of one-shot vaccine

Thirty-five residents of a homeless shelter run by the Salvation Army have been vaccinated as part of the programme to reach vulnerable groups of people.

The men are all long-term residents of York House which operates 80 supported accommodated units for men over the age of 18. Many had already been vaccinated through their age profile or because they have underlying conditions.

Remarkably, though the men live in close proximity to each other, there have been no cases of Covid-19 out of York House.

Homeless people have been among those targeted with the Johnson & Johnson one-dose vaccine.

York House manager Emeline Le Prince said it was a relief. "We have been very careful for everyone, to ensure the staff do not pass it on to anyone, respecting the guidelines at all times," she said. "It is a good day. It's a step closer to normal."

Range of services

The Salvation Army provides more than 400 beds every night in Dublin, as well as a wide range of services to help people overcome the complex reasons for their homelessness, such as mental ill health, fleeing domestic violence, trauma or addiction.

Residents of York Street have not been allowed to have visitors since March of last year.

Among those who were vaccinated was 54-year-old Eddie Brennan who has been living in York House for eight months.

All the residents were bused to a HSE clinic in Dublin city centre to get vaccinated. “We originally thought we were banjacked. We thought we were going to be riddled with Covid-19, but it has worked out well in the end. I’m looking forward to going for a pint or a burger,” he said. “We have to spend most of our times in our rooms. It has been really tough.”

The clinic is providing 700 vaccines over the next two weeks for people living in homeless services.

The National Immunisation Advisory Committee (Niac) has recommended that people who are homeless and members of the Traveller and Roma community should be prioritised for vaccination.