Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 Vaccine Emerges as Preferred Shot for Homeless

CHICAGO—Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine has found a niche among organizations that work with the homeless, who say the one-dose shot is better-suited for a population that can be difficult to reach twice. The U.S. homeless population has soared during the pandemic. Shelters have become a source of spread as experts puzzle over how to stem stubbornly high infection rates despite an aggressive national vaccine rollout.

In Chicago, the Night Ministry, a group that serves the homeless, has increasingly used the J&J vaccine since it was approved by U.S. regulators in late February. Before that the group had only the Moderna Inc. vaccine, which requires two shots. But the often-transient population can be tough to find a second time, said Stephan Koruba, a nurse practitioner with the Night Ministry, especially those sleeping on the Chicago Transit Authority train system. Now, the group offers both. Many of the group’s beneficiaries are living on the streets. Others in tent encampments. Or, for those able to pay a few hundred dollars a month to escape Chicago’s frigid winter, in transient hotels.

“When we’re out on the CTA, we’re never going to see these people again,” Mr. Koruba said. “We’ve specifically held to J&J doses for them.”