Firefighters using federal grant to vaccinate homeless, low-income families for the flu

Flu shots will be administered on October 26 to 28 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

VICTORIA, Texas – This is the first year the Victoria Fire Department will administer flu shots for the homeless and low-income families and it’s all part of a long-range plan for the department to have more public health outreach.

“Due to COVID-19 we felt this was a great year and a great opportunity to start that,” said Tracy Fox, VFD Chief. 

…and they’re not just doing it to help the most vulnerable members of our community.

“Well we also want to reduce the impact on the hospitals are going to be faced with COVID-19 and then flu after that,” Fox said.

It’s clear the homeless community’s health needs are not being met, Fox said, which makes outreach important.

“This is just one of those ways where we can also help our response by improving the health of our homeless and vulnerable populations,” Fox said. “By vaccinating them for flu,  we won’t have to take care of them during the flu season.” 

Vaccinations were paid through a Community Block Development Grant for resources to combat COVID-19. 

If they aren’t able to make it on either day, Fox said low-income or homeless families should contact Midcoast Family Services

“There may be the potential to obtain more vaccines and we could reach back out to those folks and we can service them with a flu vaccine,” Fox said.

Flu shots will be administered on October 26 to 28 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Queen City Park to those 4 years old or older.

Low-income families will need to bring pay stubs or verification of income from the last three months, as well as a proper form of identification.

Recent data from MidCoast Family Services show that at least 100 Victoria residents are car-homeless, which means they are living out of their vehicles.

In the Victoria I.S.D. 272 students have been identified as homeless since the start of the 2020-2021 school year. During the 2019-20 school year, 711 students were identified as homeless.

The average income for Victoria County residents is $55,631, which is $3,939 less than the average income for residents across the state.

The unemployment rate in Victoria County rose to 8.8 % in September from 3.8 % in February.

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