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Lancet Public Health ; 7(4): e366-e377, 2022 Apr.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1730182


BACKGROUND: People experiencing homelessness face a high risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection and transmission, as well as health complications and death due to COVID-19. Despite being prioritised for receiving the COVID-19 vaccine in many regions, little data are available on vaccine uptake in this vulnerable population. Using population-based health-care administrative data from Ontario, Canada-a region with a universal, publicly funded health system-we aimed to describe COVID-19 vaccine coverage (ie, the estimated percentage of people who have received a vaccine) and determinants of vaccine receipt among individuals with a recent history of homelessness. METHODS: We conducted a retrospective, population-based cohort study of adults (aged ≥18 years) with a recent experience of homelessness, inadequate housing, or shelter use as recorded in routinely collected health-care databases between June 14, 2020, and June 14, 2021 (a period within 6 months of Dec 14, 2020, when COVID-19 vaccine administration was initiated in Ontario). Participants were followed up from Dec 14, 2020, to Sept 30, 2021, for the receipt of one or two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine using the province's real-time centralised vaccine information system. We described COVID-19 vaccine coverage overall and within predefined subgroups. Using modified Poisson regression, we further identified sociodemographic factors, health-care usage, and clinical factors associated with receipt of at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. FINDINGS: 23 247 individuals with a recent history of homelessness were included in this study. Participants were predominantly male (14 752 [63·5%] of 23 247); nearly half were younger than 40 years (11 521 [49·6%]) and lived in large metropolitan regions (12 123 [52·2%]); and the majority (18 226 [78·4%]) visited a general practitioner for an in-person consultation during the observation period. By Sept 30, 2021, 14 271 (61·4%; 95% CI 60·8-62·0) individuals with a recent history of homelessness had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 11 082 (47·7%; 47·0-48·3) had received two doses; in comparison, over the same period, 86·6% of adults in the total Ontario population had received a first dose and 81·6% had received a second dose. In multivariable analysis, factors positively associated with COVID-19 uptake were one or more outpatient visits to a general practitioner (adjusted risk ratio [aRR] 1·37 [95% CI 1·31-1·42]), older age (50-59 years vs 18-29 years: 1·18 [1·14-1·22], ≥60 years vs 18-29 years: 1·27 [1·22-1·31]), receipt of an influenza vaccine in either of the two previous influenza seasons (1·25 [1·23-1·28]), being identified as homeless via a visit to a community health centre versus exclusively a hospital-based encounter (1·13 [1·10-1·15]), receipt of one or more SARS-CoV-2 tests between March 1, 2020, and Sept 30, 2021 (1·23 [1·20-1·26]), and the presence of chronic health conditions (one condition: 1·05 [1·03-1·08]; two or more conditions: 1·11 [1·08-1·14]). By contrast, living in a smaller metropolitan region (aRR 0·92 [95% CI 0·90-0·94]) or rural location (0·93 [0·90-0·97]) versus large metropolitan regions were associated with lower uptake. INTERPRETATION: In Ontario, COVID-19 vaccine coverage among adults with a recent history of homelessness has lagged and, as of Sept 30, 2021, was 25 percentage points lower than that of the general adult population in Ontario for a first dose and 34 percentage points lower for a second dose. With high usage of outpatient health services among individuals with a recent history of homelessness, better utilisation of outpatient primary care structures might offer an opportunity to increase vaccine coverage in this population. Our findings underscore the importance of leveraging existing health and service organisations that are accessed and trusted by people who experience homelessness for targeted vaccine delivery. FUNDING: The Public Health Agency of Canada. TRANSLATION: For the French translation of the abstract see Supplementary Materials section.

COVID-19 , Homeless Persons , Vaccines , Adolescent , Adult , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Cohort Studies , Humans , Male , Ontario/epidemiology , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2
Addiction ; 2022 Feb 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1672926


AIMS: To examine how weekly rates of emergency department (ED) visits for drug overdoses changed among individuals with a recent history of homelessness (IRHH) and their housed counterparts during the pre-pandemic, peak, and re-opening periods of the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, using corresponding weeks in 2019 as a historical control. DESIGN: Population-based retrospective cohort study conducted between September 30, 2018 and September 26, 2020. SETTING: Ontario, Canada. PARTICIPANTS: A total of 38 617 IRHH, 15 022 369 housed individuals, and 186 858 low-income housed individuals matched on age, sex, rurality, and comorbidity burden. MEASUREMENTS: ED visits for drug overdoses of accidental and undetermined intent. FINDINGS: Average rates of ED visits for drug overdoses between January and September 2020 were higher among IRHH compared with housed individuals (rate ratio [RR], 148.0; 95% CI, 142.7-153.5) and matched housed individuals (RR, 22.3; 95% CI, 20.7-24.0). ED visits for drug overdoses decreased across all groups by ~20% during the peak period (March 17 to June 16, 2020) compared with corresponding weeks in 2019. During the re-opening period (June 17 to September 26, 2020), rates of ED visits for drug overdoses were significantly higher among IRHH (RR, 1.56; 95% CI, 1.44-1.69), matched housed individuals (RR, 1.25; 95% CI, 1.08-1.46), and housed individuals relative to equivalent weeks in 2019 (RR, 1.07; 95% CI, 1.02-1.11). The relative increase in drug overdose ED visits among IRHH was larger compared with both matched housed individuals (P = 0.01 for interaction between group and year) and housed individuals (P < 0.001) during this period. CONCLUSIONS: Recently homeless individuals in Ontario, Canada experienced disproportionate increases in ED visits for drug overdoses during the re-opening period of the COVID-19 pandemic compared with housed people.

BMJ Open ; 11(10): e053124, 2021 10 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1495470


INTRODUCTION: Communicable disease epidemics and pandemics magnify the health inequities experienced by marginalised populations. People who use substances suffer from high rates of morbidity and mortality and should be a priority to receive palliative care, yet they encounter many barriers to palliative care access. Given the pre-existing inequities to palliative care access for people with life-limiting illnesses who use substances, it is important to understand the impact of communicable disease epidemics and pandemics such as COVID-19 on this population. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: We will conduct a scoping review and report according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses extension for Scoping Reviews reporting guidelines. We conducted a comprehensive literature search in seven bibliographical databases from the inception of each database to August 2020. We also performed a grey literature search to identify the publications not indexed in the bibliographical databases. All the searches will be rerun in April 2021 to retrieve recently published information because the COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing at the time of this writing. We will extract the quantitative data using a standardised data extraction form and summarise it using descriptive statistics. Additionally, we will conduct thematic qualitative analyses and present our findings as narrative summaries. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: Ethics approval is not required for a scoping review. We will disseminate our findings to healthcare providers and policymakers through professional networks, digital communications through social media platforms, conference presentations and publication in a scientific journal.

COVID-19 , Communicable Diseases , Humans , Palliative Care , Pandemics , Research Design , Review Literature as Topic , SARS-CoV-2 , Systematic Reviews as Topic