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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Cities around the world are ramping up efforts to vaccinate homeless people as part of an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19, following pressure from local activists.

Why it matters: Many homeless people have underlying conditions that put them at higher risk for severe illness if they contract the disease, and often lack access to health care. People without homes are "chronically neglected around the world and acutely vulnerable to the coronavirus," writes the Washington Post.

The Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program (BHCHP) vaccinated nearly 200 guests and nearly 150 staff members at the city's three largest overnight emergency shelters as of last Friday, three days after it started its effort, per WBUR.

  • Boston has about 2,000 adults staying in shelters, and 1,500 staffers at shelters who are eligible for the vaccine. BHCHP says it aims to give all of them their first doses by the end of February.

Detroit's health department announced earlier this month it plans to partner with Wayne State University to vaccine all of its 29 homeless shelters by the end of February.

  • Detroit prioritized homeless people, along with people in nursing homes, because "congregate living can increase frequency of exposure to this virus" said Denise Fair, the city's chief public health officer.

Montreal began vaccinating homeless people this month as part of a large-scale program that has provided a "ray of hope in otherwise dark times" for the city's homeless, writes Montreal Gazette.

  • At least 190 homeless people in Montreal, as well as 82 staff members at shelters, have contracted the virus since December, per the Washington Post.

The Vatican City health service last week began offering the vaccine to people who live in Vatican-owned shelters.

Worth noting: Denmark moved its homeless population up the priority list for receiving the vaccine.

Go deeper: The most vulnerable Americans aren't getting enough vaccine information

Go deeper

Jan 30, 2021 - World

Science helps New Zealand avoid another coronavirus lockdown

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (L) visits a lab at Auckland University in December. Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

New Zealand has avoided locking down for a second time over COVID-19 community cases because of a swift, science-led response.

Why it matters: The Health Ministry said in an email to Axios Friday there's "no evidence of community transmission" despite three people testing positive after leaving managed hotel isolation. That means Kiwis can continue to visit bars, restaurants and events as much of the world remains on lockdown.

Jan 30, 2021 - World

Germany to impose travel restrictions to curb spread of coronavirus variants

Border police officers check passports and COVID-19 tests at Frankfurt Airport. Photo: Thomas Lohnes via Getty Images

Germany announced Friday that it was imposing new travel restrictions in an effort to curb the spread of more contagious coronavirus variants.

Details: All non-German residents traveling from countries deemed "areas of variant concern," including the United Kingdom, South Africa, Portugal, Ireland, Brazil, Lesotho and Eswatini, will be banned from entering the country, even if they test negative for the coronavirus.

59 mins ago - Health

Meta removes over 600 accounts linked to COVID disinformation effort by China

Facebook's corporate headquarters campus in Menlo Park, California. Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images

Meta announced Wednesday it has removed over 600 Facebook and Instagram accounts linked to a Chinese influence operation that claimed the U.S. was pressuring the World Health Organization (WHO) to blame COVID on China.

Why it matters: Though Meta said the network was unsuccessful, it marks yet another COVID disinformation campaign instigated by China in an effort to discredit the U.S.

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