Update: January 15, 2021
Last night, the incoming Biden-Harris administration released the first part of its proposed COVID-19 relief plan. It includes many important priorities, including full federal Medicaid funding for administration of vaccines and additional housing and nutrition funding.
It does not at this stage appear to include additional dedicated funding for home and community-based services (HCBS). HCBS funding is urgently needed to help disabled people and older adults live safely in their homes rather than being forced into nursing homes and other congregate settings where COVID-19 is rampant.
The development of a coronavirus vaccine has been a major focus of attempts to control the pandemic. In December, vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna were authorized for emergency use and other candidates are expected to be considered for emergency use authorization shortly. Note that no vaccine has been approved through the regular approval process yet.
The federal government as well as state and local governments have been quickly preparing for distribution of vaccines, thinking through priority groups for allocation and the logistics of vaccine distribution in an effort to ensure quick and effective distribution. However, even if more than one vaccine is granted emergency use authorization, there will not be a large enough supply to vaccinate everyone immediately, making it especially important that these plans are considered carefully. Given the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the disability community, advocates have made it a priority to push for allocation frameworks and distribution plans to effectively address the community’s concerns.
In October, the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) released principles for vaccine allocation that you can read here. These include, among other things:
- Prioritization of people in all congregate settings and who receive home and community-based services (HCBS)
- Prioritization of workers in all congregate settings and who provide HCBS
- Ensuring that both the information and the means of distribution are accessible
- Ensuring compliance with federal civil rights law and guidance
More resources related to vaccine allocation can be found below and we will continue to update this page with additional resources as they become available.