City to Prioritize Janssen Vaccine Distribution on Homeless Populations

March 09, 2021

Today, Mayor Greg Fischer and Dr. Sarah Moyer, Louisville’s Chief Health Strategist discussed the city’s efforts to deploy the Janssen vaccine to hard-to-reach populations and addressed the continuous decline of COVID-19 in the community.

Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness received its first shipment of 1,500 doses of the one-shot Janssen vaccine last week. The arrival of a third vaccine to protect residents and workers from COVID-19 brought enthusiasm from Mayor Fischer that it will allow all vaccine providers to vaccinate more people quickly.

“The Janssen vaccine has been highly effective in preventing severe illness and death from COVID-19,” the Mayor said. “It will simplify scheduling and logistics to get more shots in arms to some of our more vulnerable populations. “We know what we’re up against. Now we have effective tools to defend against this virus to help us get closer every day to beating and eliminating COVID-19.”

Janssen Vaccine Distribution in Louisville

 During Tuesday’s weekly COVID update, public health and city officials talked about strategies for distributing the Janssen vaccine to transient and difficult-to-reach populations such as homebound seniors and those experiencing homelessness.

Delanor Manson, Chief Executive Officer of the Kentucky Nurses Association, said nurses are conducting testing missions at homeless shelters and have conducted more than 2,000 tests in the last eight weeks. She said the most important thing they can deliver is trust. In doing so, she said nurses provide information and educate the homeless about the vaccine and get feedback on what lies ahead.

Chief Executive Officer Bill Wagner of Family Health Centers said they began administering the Janssen vaccine to homeless populations today. Despite being unsure of how it would be received, Wagner said that a majority of those approached were interested in receiving it.

Regarding efforts to vaccinate the homeless, Wagner said it would take time and teamwork to get the job done as the homeless populations have different challenges than the rest of the community.

“We’ve got a lot of partners, and it’s going to take a lot of us working together,” he said. “They don’t work by the same timeclock or schedule as we do. We have to be flexible and meet them where they are, and we’ll be successful.”

Speaking to those vulnerable populations, Mayor Fischer said that these efforts are important because the city has a responsibility to protect everyone that lives in Louisville.  

“We have to do all we can to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among our homeless population just like we do among every other segment of our population,” the Mayor said. “We need to do all we can to prevent them from falling ill and potentially dying from this disease.” 

Louisville’s COVID cases decreased for the ninth consecutive week, keeping the city at alert level orange with an incidence rate of 19.1 cases per 100,000 population.

 

Here are the key COVID-19 data metrics for the week of March 9, 2021:

  • There were 1,023 new cases over the previous week.
  • Hospitalization data:
    • 8.8% of patients currently hospitalized have COVID-19.
    • 36 patients in ICU with COVID-19 as of March 9, a decrease from 39 the week prior.
    • 26 COVID-19 patients on ventilators as of March 9, compared to 22 last week.
  • 247,756 total vaccine doses given in Metro Louisville since December.
  • 18.9% of Louisville residents have received at least one dose of vaccine and 10.2% have completed the vaccine series

With COVID cases continuing a downward trend Dr. Moyer reflected on yesterday’s one-year anniversary when Louisville reported the first COVID-19 case. She expressed gratitude for medical experts, public health employees and many others who worked tirelessly to protect residents and the community against a fast-moving virus.

“I think about how much our lives have changed, especially the 953 families who lost a loved one and the 73,367 Louisvillians who have had COVID,” Dr. Moyer said. “I’m grateful for how quickly medical experts moved in learning about COVID. We went from stay-at-home guidance, wearing masks and washing hands to just one year later the CDC releasing guidelines for fully vaccinated individuals being able to have small gatherings again. We pulled many of my team from their normal jobs to help with special areas of the response. Others have kept many of our services going in spite of the pandemic. None have complained and all have served our community with grit, dedication and compassion.”

New Guidance for People Fully Vaccinated  

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidelines for individuals fully vaccinated against COVID-19. People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose in a two-dose series such as with Pfizer and Moderna, or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine like the Janssen vaccine. The new guidance states that if you have been fully vaccinated:

  • You can gather indoors with fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask.
  • You can gather indoors with unvaccinated people from one household without masks, unless those people and household inhabitants have an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
  • If you’ve been around someone who has COVID-19, you do not need to stay away from others or get tested unless you have symptoms.

Individuals who have not been fully vaccinated should still take steps to protect themselves and others by wearing masks, staying 6 feet apart, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces. Additionally, people should try to delay domestic and international travel and continue to follow CDC requirements and recommendations for travel if they do. 

“This is a lot of encouragement with the safeness of the vaccine and what we’re able to do once fully vaccinated, “Dr. Moyer said. “Still we should continue to protect ourselves and our community by wearing masks in public, staying socially distant and be mindful that COVID is still around us.   

First Responder Data 

Currently, 16 members of LMPD, Louisville Fire, Metro EMS, Metro Corrections and the Sheriff’s Office are off-duty due to COVID-19:

  • 7 are off with positive tests and in self-isolation
  • 5 are off and quarantined due to exposure to someone who tested positive
  • 4 are off with symptoms, pending test results

 

Positive test numbers for first responders/public safety since the incident began:

  • 550 positive tests
  • 543 have fully recovered and returned to duty

 

Metro Corrections inmate data: 

Total Tested: 6,444

Total Positive: 406

Total Recovered: 406

Total currently under medical isolation: 0

Total tests pending: 0

# # #

 

To view the entire COVID-19 weekly update with Public Health officials click here. The city’s COVID-19 data dashboard, a complete list of COVID-19 testing sites, vaccine information, prevention and contact tracing can be found at www.louisville.gov/covid19. The LOU HEALTH COVID19 Helpline is also available: 502- 912-8598.

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