Vulnerable populations such as those experiencing homelessness are 20 times more likely to be hospitalised due to COVID-19, 10 times more likely to require intensive care for COVID-19 and 5 times more likely to die within 21 days of a positive test for COVID-19
Many organizations advocate for socially vulnerable populations to be considered priority populations due to their oftencomplex health needs and inability to fully execute best practices for infection prevention and control
Past experiences from Hepatitis vaccination (requiring 3 injections) and H1N1 pandemic influenza vaccination indicate that partnering with community organizations to provide vaccinations in shelters, community centers and other frequently accessed places along with education and access to known, trusted healthcare providers greatly increase the uptake of vaccination among socially vulnerable populations
Beyond sheltered populations experiencing homelessness, considerations for equitable vaccination programs for the general population should include plans for accessibility for all, including underserved geographic regions
Badea, A; Reeder, B; Hanson, L; Miller, L; Howell-Spooner, B. What are the vaccination strategies for vulnerable populations? 2021 Mar 12; Document no.: PH030401 RR. In: COVID-19 Rapid Evidence Reviews [Internet]. SK: SK COVID Evidence Support Team, c2020. 33 p. (CEST rapid review report)
Two congregate living situations were identified in the literature: those in correctional facilities and those with mental health issues.
People in correctional facilities are more susceptible to infection and have higher mortality rates due to COVID-19 than the general population. Managing outbreaks in facilities is difficult due to high levels of movement, the inability to physically distance, and limited personal protective equipment.
People with mental illness have higher risk of morbidity and mortality due to COVID-19. Severe mental illness is positively correlated with other environmental risk factors for contracting COVID-19, including living in crowded settings, homelessness, and institutionalization. Furthermore, those with mental illness find it difficult to adhere to changing public health or government guidelines around reducing the spread of COVID-19.
Fick, F; Groot, G; Young, C; Mueller, M. What evidence is available to inform vaccination planning in congregate living? 2021 Jan 15; Document no.: EOC011102 RR. In: COVID-19 Rapid Evidence Reviews [Internet]. SK: SK COVID Evidence Support Team, c2020. 23 p. (CEST rapid review report)