Capitol Correspondence - 03.09.21

By March 10: Ask Your U.S. Representative to Sign onto Letter Urging CDC to Prioritize People with Disabilities in Vaccine Distribution

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We encourage our members to reach out to their U.S. Representatives to join a sign-on letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) by Representatives John Katko (R-NY) and Kathleen Rice (D-NY) on the need to prioritize people with intellectual / developmental disabilities (I/DD) and Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) in vaccine prioritization. The deadline to sign onto the letter is tomorrow, March 10. For your convenience, you can personalize the email template below and send it to your Representative. If you need assistance identifying congressional staff contacts, please reach out to Doris Parfaite-Claude, Federal Advocacy and Research Manager, at [email protected].

While the CDC has recently taken the important step of encouraging states to expand vaccine access to people with disabilities, doing so remains at the discretion of governors. Furthermore, the actual wording of the CDC guidance leaves a lot of uncertainty as to which populations are included in the updated recommendation. Therefore, this congressional letter is timely and your advocacy can make a difference in ensuring the safety of people with I/DD and DSPs during the pandemic.


As a constituent who [explain your tie to the disability community], it is very important for me that people with intellectual / developmental disabilities (I/DD) have prioritized access to the COVID-19 vaccine. I urge you to sign onto a congressional letter being circulated by the offices of Representatives Katko (R-NY) and Rice (D-NY) urging the CDC to encourage states to prioritize people with I/DD during vaccine rollout. This is critical because people with I/DD are more likely to die if they contract the COVID-19 virus than the general population, due to additional underlying conditions that make them physically vulnerable. Your support for this letter could save lives during the pandemic. Please reach out Tyler Gutchess in the office of Representative Katko ([email protected]) for more information on this letter; the deadline to sign on is March 10.

I am happy to answer any questions you may have on this topic or on the challenges facing people with I/DD and the workforce supporting them during the pandemic. Thank you for your consideration of this time-sensitive request.