Open Door Mission one of first shelters in US to vaccinate residents; staff

(Omaha, NE) -- Omaha's Open Door Mission is now one of the very first homeless shelters in the United States to get staff and residents the COVID-19 vaccine.

CEO Candace Gregory tells WOWT 6 News that seeing her staff and residents get vaccinated feels like a milestone. “I don’t know what’s more exciting, that our kids who have been home from school for almost 11 months went back yesterday or that today is our vaccination day. Because it’s kind of a toss-up, to be honest."

On Wednesday, Nebraska Methodist College and the Douglas County Health Department teamed up to provide 70 doses to frontline staff and residents at the shelter, making it one of the first in the country to vaccinate the homeless population.

With less than 1 percent of residents having contracted the virus and few fatalities, the success at The Open Door Mission is drawing national attention. “Mathematically, this place should have been devastated. You know by all, if you go back a year, we were talking about it. That’s what every prediction was. And what she did, she was very strict and these protocols, she put it in early, she followed them. It has paid off and it has saved lives,” said Dr. Robert Marbut Jr. Executive Director of the U.S. Council on Homelessness.

Presidential Appointee Dr. Robert Marbut felt so inspired by the mission, he came here to take part in the vaccinations alongside Clinton and others. “It was great! It is so cool, it’s just a miracle how fast this has been developed and it’s already getting into arms."

Nebraska Methodist College and the Douglas County Health Department plan on doing more vaccinations at The Open Door Mission when they receive more doses.

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