Advocates Worry People With Disabilities Who Live At Home Struggle To Get COVID-19 Vaccine

By Kathy Ritchie
Published: Friday, January 29, 2021 - 11:44am
Updated: Tuesday, March 16, 2021 - 12:52pm

Disability advocates are worried that certain people with intellectual or developmental disabilities are not being prioritized in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. 

Jon Meyers is with the Arc of Arizona, a disability advocacy group. He says people who live in a congregate setting, like a group home, have been able to get the vaccine. But those who live in a private setting, say with family or on their own, are not being made a priority.

"It seems to be a real contradiction to us that certain people with a diagnosis are eligible to receive the vaccine and certain other people with the same diagnosis are not eligible to receive the vaccine simply because they don't happen to live in the same type of setting," Meyers said. 

Meyers says those folks are still at risk of contracting the virus, despite the setting they live in.

"They are visited by care workers, they are visited by volunteers, they are visited by family members," Meyers said. 

Meyers also said people with IDD are at much higher risk of severe outcomes if they contract COVID-19. 

"A recent study was done that showed that individuals with Down syndrome are at least three times more likely to contract the virus and see serious side effects and are 10 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than the general population," Meyers said. 

Meyers says most people with disabilities have other coexisting conditions that put them at higher risk of adverse outcomes, and they should be prioritized, regardless of the setting in which they live.

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