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Safe Syringe Sites Promote COVID Vaccines For Addicted People

People of grandparent ages recorded the highest rates of vaccination against COVID-19, while people who suffer from drug addictions fell behind. New research highlights an unlikely solution: safe syringe sites. About 185 safe syringe sites operate in 38 states, where drug users trade used needles for clean ones. Proponents say this simple service reduces the spread of infectious diseases like HIV while opening the door for counselling among those seeking to quit. “I think that meeting people where they’re at helps build trust,” said Camille Cioffi of the University of Oregon’s Prevention Science Institute, Courthouse News Service reports. Even though only 10 percent of the people surveyed by Cioffi’s team in 2021 had received vaccines, most respondents wanted one. The HIV Alliance in Eugene, Or., added COVID-19 testing and vaccination to existing HIV prevention and treatment services. The nonprofit exchanges an estimated 2 million syringes annually among 10,000 clients. Matthew Sullivan, a clinical fellow in psychology at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School helped survey people with opioid use disorders about their willingness to get inoculated against COVID-19. Through community surveys, Sullivan found the most crucial factor in whether an individual with opioid use disorder was willing to take the shot was the quality of their relationship with a health care provider.

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