Capitol Correspondence - 12.08.20

ANCOR Pressures Governors to Prioritize People with Disabilities as They Submit Pre-Emptive COVID-19 Vaccine Dose Requests

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Following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ vote to recommend prioritizing essential health workers and residents of long-term care facilities to receive future COVID-19 vaccinations, the onus has now shifted to state governors to create policies around vaccine allocation. However, note that ACIP will hold additional meetings on December 11 and 13 – the agenda is available online and we will keep members informed of future developments.

The Trump Administration has stated that it would let states decide on their own COVID-19 vaccination distribution frameworks (Kaiser Family Foundation offers a helpful roundup of preliminary plans to date, and The Hill shares more about the process going forward). Last week was the deadline for governors to apply to receive initial shipments of vaccines for their states.

As such, in addition to issuing a statement about the need to prioritize people with intellectual / developmental disabilities (I/DD) and direct support professionals (DSPs) among the first to receive forthcoming vaccines, ANCOR also submitted comments on the ACIP framework. Now, ANCOR is engaging with governors to express to them the need for people with I/DD and DSPs to be included in the highest-priority group for vaccine allocation. For our members interested in echoing our calls to action, we invite you to browse and share the following materials:

  • Our letter to the National Governors Association explaining the need to prioritize people with I/DD and DSPs. We also sent individual copies of this letter to each state’s governor.
  • Our tweets to each governor asking them to factor the needs of people with I/DD and DSPs as they request vaccine doses.
  • News reporting on a hospice and home health coalition letter ANCOR participated in, also on the topic of COVID-19 vaccinations.
  • Commentary from ANCOR’s Shannon McCracken on KOLD in Tucson about the response we’ve gotten from governors so far regarding our vaccine advocacy.
  • A joint letter with 15 other disability organizations, led by ANCOR member United Cerebral Palsy, to Vice President Mike Pence in his role as the chair of the Trump administration’s COVID-19 task force, recommending that federal “agencies designate people of color with a disability among the highest priority categories to receive the forthcoming COVID-19 vaccine.”

Politico Pro reports that “some states are shifting the responsibility to the health care industry to make those challenging determinations, arguing that hospitals are better equipped to figure out who should be first in line. […] Some argue that governors are better off deferring decisions on vaccination priorities to providers, given the scarcity of the first doses and limited time to sort out thorny ethical and logistical questions. But others worry the patchwork approach could undermine the effort to transparently and equitably distribute the vaccine. […] Kentucky, along with Mississippi and New York, have instructed hospitals to devise tiering systems to determine which employees should receive the first vaccinations. Other states, including Arkansas and Minnesota, are holding off on making decisions until they receive guidance from their own advisory panels.”