Vaccine is long way off for people with developmental disabilities, at high risk for COVID-19

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In a statement, Alberta Health spokesperson Tom McMillan said the province would like to offer the vaccine more widely, but lacks supply.

“We recognize that Albertans with disabilities would benefit significantly from the vaccine. We absolutely want to offer them the chance to get immunized as soon as possible,” he said in an email.

“Unfortunately, we are receiving a very limited supply, with no new shipments arriving this week. We are prioritizing those most at risk of severe outcomes and the health care workers who care for them and who work in areas most critically impacted by COVID-19.”

Inclusion Alberta is also advocating that disability-related support staff, often relied on in the home by those living with certain challenges, receive their shots ahead of the general population. Those workers haven’t been included in Alberta’s vaccine rollout to home care workers, who started receiving their shots this month.

Acton said she’s had to limit in-home access for her daughter’s support workers due to potential risk. She said she also still worries about her daughter being exposed to the coronavirus through her home care worker who has been vaccinated, as research has suggested those immunized might still be carriers of the disease.

“Simply vaccinating people who are providing direct support doesn’t protect the vulnerable,” Acton said.

“I would like her to be in the same queue as everyone else who’s nine times more likely to die from the virus. At this point, we haven’t heard if there is going to be any prioritization. That has me very, very concerned.”

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