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Mobile clinics are bringing the COVID-19 vaccine to Anchorage residents experiencing homelessness

  • Author: Emily Mesner
  • Updated: 5 days ago
  • Published 5 days ago

Gigi Whitis looks away as Kaitlynne Kennedy administers a dose of the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine during a mobile vaccine clinic hosted by Visit Healthcare in Anchorage on Friday, April 30, 2021. (Emily Mesner / ADN)

Visit Healthcare has been providing weekly COVID-19 vaccinations for members of Anchorage’s unsheltered community by bringing the vaccine to them.

During their fourth mobile vaccine clinic, Visit Healthcare workers offered COVID-19 tests to attendees and prepared upwards of 20 vaccine doses. Food and blankets, personally provided by employees, were given to those who stopped by the clinic.

In the back seat of a small car, registered nurse Emma Jacobson worked quickly to prepare the Johnson & Johnson vaccine shots.

Registered nurse Emma Jacobson works on paperwork for doses of the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine she drew for patients at the mobile clinic. (Emily Mesner / ADN)
Jessica Haley, who is administering COVID-19 tests at the clinic, hands a new blanket to a member of the homeless community in Anchorage. (Emily Mesner / ADN)

Administering this single-shot vaccine — as opposed to Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which require two injections given weeks apart — made it so patients wouldn’t have to find the clinic again or be tracked down, said Jen Wallace, outdoor operations manager for Visit Healthcare.

Gigi Whitis shared stories of her children as she waited for her dose in the parking lot on the corner of East Northern Lights Boulevard and A Street.

“I don’t wanna get sick no more. (I) gotta be here for my kids, got a grandbaby coming along,” she said. “... I wanna live.”