Dignity Alliance Massachusetts has endorsed the following Advocacy to add to listing of disability conditions to qualify for vaccination priority.
Download the entire statement: DAM Disability Vaccine Letter.docx.
People with quadriplegia, cystic fibrosis, multiple sclerosis (MS), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and intellectual and developmental disabilities, among other many disabilities and health conditions, are not getting the priority they desperately need to stay safe. Many of these people receive support services in their homes—so non-family members are regularly in their homes, increasing transmission risks and making it impossible for them to self-isolate. To address the unique concerns and inequities of this community, DAM calls upon Governor Baker to make the following changes:
- Use both the “are at increased risk” and “might be at increased risk” CDC lists when determining eligibility based on comorbidities, not just the first list.
- Add spinal cord injury, neuromuscular disorder (e.g. Multiple Sclerosis), and developmental and intellectual disabilities to the list of eligible comorbidities.
- Declare eligible anyone who receives Personal Care Attendant or Home Health Aide services, as these individuals cannot safely isolate.
- Declare eligible anyone who requires mechanical ventilation to breathe or who uses oxygen.
- Create a reasonable accommodation process whereby the physician of an individual with a disability who does not qualify may request an appointment for the individual if the physician judges the individual to be at elevated risk.
DAM urges Governor Baker to add individuals with disabilities in the above-listed categories to the current priority groups receiving vaccines and better protect individuals who are uniquely vulnerable to COVID-19.
This advocacy has been endorsed by thirty-one participants of Dignity Alliance Massachusetts including the following:
- Boston Center for Independent Living
- COP Amputee Association, Inc. – COPAA
- Disability Resource Center, Inc.
- Easterseals Massachusetts
- Greater Boston Chapter of the United Spinal Association
- Massachusetts Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, Alison Weingarten, Executive Director, Arlene Germain, Policy Director
- Stavros Center for Independent Living, Yashira Ruiz
- Irene Cramer
- Judith Fonsh, MSW
- Sandy Hovey
- Paul J. Lanzikos
- James A. Lomastro, PhD
- Sandra Allyssa Novack, MBA, MSW
- Janice Philpot