Since the release of COVID-19 vaccine rollout plans, advocates have been outraged at the lack of priority for individuals with developmental disabilities.
While some states include individuals with disabilities who live in long-term care facilities and group homes in Phases 1A or 1B of their vaccine plans, people with the same disabilities who live alone or with their families in other states are required to wait until Phase 3 of the rollout, along with the general public.
Given the research conducted over the past year of the pandemic, it is no secret that the chances of people with developmental disabilities dying from the virus are much higher than nondisabled individuals, so why are they not being seen as a higher priority?
Though each state is able to determine its own regulations for the rollout, many are choosing to abide directly with recommendations released by the CDC. In an effort to sway the CDC to update their prioritization, 16 advocacy groups wrote a letter urging the agency to formally recommend that all states include IDD individuals living alone or with their families in Phase 1B.
“It’s heartbreaking to know that individuals living with this incredibly high risk are being kept from the vaccine simply based on where they call home,” says Special Needs Companies founder, Annette Hines. “The numbers are clear — this population, regardless of what state or type of home they live in — need and deserve centralized access to the vaccine as soon as possible.”
Are you looking for community support during COVID-19? Check out our “Circle of Care” Facebook group where hundreds of individuals with disabilities and their parents, caregivers, advocates, teachers, and more share helpful resources and words of encouragement.