On Friday, Atlanta Housing (AH) employees escorted many of the agency’s senior residents to a Westside medical center to get them vaccinated for COVID-19

AH officials spent the afternoon shuttling 118 elderly residents from various apartment towers around the city to the Family Health Center at West End. The facility recently obtained enough vaccines to begin helping agency tenants, according to AH executive Howard Grant, who noted the agency approached health center officials about setting up a vaccination program in January.

Grant and other AH employees helped the residents social distance on rented buses, ferried them to the health center and returned them to their respective high-rises, he told Atlanta Civic Circle in an interview. 

The more than 100 seniors who signed up to get vaccinated represent almost 5 percent of AH’s elderly population of 2,500. 

Everyone who had requested transportation to the vaccination facility was assisted, Grant said, although some AH tenants have already secured the shots from their personal healthcare providers or other avenues. 

“They’re very happy and very appreciative of this opportunity,” Grant said of the residents who opted to get the vaccine, later adding, “We’re trying to provide [vaccine] access to our residents and trying to ensure they’re comfortable with the decision they’re making.” 

Those who received the first shot on Friday are expected to return in three weeks to get the second and final injection. 

Last month, AH officials told Atlanta Civic Circle that five of their 2,500 seniors had died of COVID-19-related complications. Though tragic, agency leaders said that number indicated AH’s pandemic precautions have been successful in curbing the spread of the coronavirus in their facilities.

AH’s new vaccination program is expected to further tamp down the potential for infections at its properties, Grant said, and the initiative is expected to expand in the near future.