LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Right now, homeless shelter coordinators in Kentucky are facing a new uphill battle.
They will have to track people down to make sure they are getting their second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Before the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended states pause using Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine, they were benefiting from the single-dose vaccine.
The leader of Wayside Christian Mission in Louisville acknowledged the challenge.
"I always worry that people will fall through the cracks with our population. Our population, a lot of times, likes to be hidden and likes to be unnoticed, you know, so it is difficult sometimes to keep track of folks, especially if they are not checking into a shelter every night," said CEO Nina Moseley.
The CDC and FDA recommended halting the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine Tuesday as they investigate reports of blood clots, a side effect experienced by some recipients of the drug.
The homeless population in Louisville was getting the vaccine, but now they'll have to make follow-up appointments since the other vaccines require a second dose.
But Moseley said her organization will overcome this hurdle.
"We do have our folks that go out on the Samaritan Patrol and they keep in contact with the folks that are camping out and so forth, and there is a pretty good word of mouth system amongst the homeless in Louisville as well," Moseley said.
Health experts at Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer's virtual town hall agreed but are hopeful this is just a bump in the road and not a permanent roadblock.
"I hope that they will decide it is still safe and if they do, then we will continue. But in the meantime, all of our missions are going to be using the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines while we find out more information," said Louisville Chief Health Strategist Sarah Moyer.
Moseley hopes clients will take the time to get both doses from either Pfizer or Moderna.
"It will be a little more inconvenient and a lot more effort to accomplish that with our population, but I think we will do that and make sure our folks have as much protection as possible," Moseley said. "The good thing is all of our folks that were vaccinated through Johnson & Johnson haven't had any trouble with them, knock on wood, so we haven't had anyone get sick or experience side effects of that nature, so I'm glad for that."