What's New (March 28 - April 13)

Here are the latest additions to this page. Sign up for ACL Updates to receive these and other updates via e-mail.

  • Ensuring equitable access to vaccines: As part of our shared commitment to ensuring equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, ACL teamed up with the HHS Office for Civil Rights and the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) to release new legal guidance and resources to help states, vaccination providers, and others leading COVID-19 response activities improve access to vaccines for people with disabilities and older adults. These resources clarify legal requirements, illustrate some of the barriers to vaccine access faced by people with disabilities and older people, and provide strategies – and examples of how the aging and disability network can help employ them – to ensure accessibility. This ACL Update has more information, or you can go directly to:

    • OCR's guidance outlines legal standards under federal civil rights laws prohibiting disability discrimination and providing concrete examples of their application in the context of COVID-19 vaccine programs. This OCR fact sheet sets out specific steps to promote compliance with disability rights laws and provide access for people with disabilities to vaccination programs.

    • ASPE's issue brief on the prevalence and characteristics of older adults who are normally unable to leave home unassisted and for whom leaving the house would take considerable and taxing effort.

    • ACL's Strategies for Helping Older Adults and People with Disabilities Access COVID-19 Vaccines provides creative approaches to outreach and education, vaccine appointment facilitation, ensuring website and vaccination site accessibility, and reaching people who cannot be vaccinated outside of their homes. Also included are examples of how the aging and disability network have collaborated with state agencies at virtually every stage of the vaccination process to ensure access for people with disabilities and older adults. This companion piece is a summary of ACL’s programs, with examples of activities and partnerships that can support vaccine access. 

  • The Georgia Tech COVID-19 Accessible Materials for People with Disabilities project has a new microsite with resourced for people with a variety of disabilities. New resources include a video for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities on wearing a mask the right way and an ASL video on running essential errands The project receives funding from the CDC Foundation. (Posted April 13)

  • NIDLRR's National Rehabilitation Information Center has an updated page with the latest COVID-19 research and information from the NIDILRR grantee community. (Posted April 12)

  • FEMA will be hosting a call on the Funeral Assistance Program for disability community stakeholders on Wednesday, April 28, 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM ET. (Posted April 12)

  • Grantmakers in Aging is hosting a webinar, Engaging Communities in Faith-Based Models of Care, on Thursday, April 22, 2021  2:00 pm - 3:00 pm ET (Posted April 12)

  • New Webinar: The Federal Response to COVID-19 - Addressing the Needs of the Autism and Disability Communities on Wednesday, April 28, 2-4 pm ET. The Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee at the Department of Health and Human Services and the Office of Autism Research Coordination at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will host this webinar. (Posted April 12)

  • Looking for more information about the process for the grants being awarded through ACL's partnership with CDC to increase access to COVID-19 vaccines?  We're working on pulling that together in one place, but in the meantime, the first six notices on ACL's page on the Federal Register site have more details about what is needed from grantees.  (Grants to the State Units on Aging for subsequent allocation to the AAAs are already being processed.)
  • The NIDILRR-funded IDEAL Rehabilitation Research Training Center (RRTC) at the University of Michigan is hosting a webinar, Examining the Impact of COVID-19 on Adults with Physical Disabilities from Marginalized Communities. on Thursday, April 22, at 2:00pm EDT. This webinar will present the findings from a recent study on the initial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on adults with physical disabilities from marginalized communities living in southeast Michigan. Interviews with 16 adults will reveal how these individuals either had to engage in risky behavior in order to have their needs met, or avoid risks and consequently not have their needs met. (Posted April 9)
  • The National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services (NASDDDS) created a document  titled, "Ensuring Vaccine Access for Individuals with I/DD & Direct Support Professionals." The document describes state successes related to vaccination efforts for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. (Posted April 9)
  • We posted a new ACL FAQ document for Older Americans Act Programs on CDC funding to help increase access to vaccines (Posted April 9)
  • The FCC and ACL are hosting a webinar on the Emergency Broadband Benefit, is an FCC program to help households struggling to pay for internet service during the pandemic. The webinar is on Thursday, April 15, at 3:00 PM ET. (Posted April 8)
  • New Webinar: Forming Strategic Partnerships Between Housing, Medicaid HCBS Payers, and Community-Based Services, Thursday, April 22, 3:00 - 4:30 pm ET. This ACL/CMS webinar provides strategies and best practices to form partnerships between housing, Medicaid HCBS payers, and community-based services to successfully address housing challenges. These partnerships can enable stakeholders to leverage the unprecedented influx of COVID-19 related funding (CARES Act, Omnibus, and American Rescue/Recovery Plan) for rental assistance and pre/post housing related services and supports. (Posted April 8)
  • New Webinar: Information, Data, and Tools to Support COVID-19 Vaccine Acceptance in Underserved CommunitiesFriday, April 16, 1:15 - 2:45 PM ET. Join the American Public Health Association, the  GWU Milken Institute School of Public Health, MDB, and SSF, in a free 90-minute webinar explaining HHS tools, data, and approaches to raise vaccination rates in underserved communities. (Posted April 6)
  • U.S. Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Pamela S. Karlan issued a statement and resource guide to assist Federal agencies, state and local governments, and recipients of federal financial assistance in addressing ongoing civil rights challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Posted April 6)
  • Interested in helping with the COVID-19 vaccination effort? Find out about the opportunity to join the COVID-19 Community Corps. This COVID-19 public education campaign will increase vaccine confidence while reinforcing basic prevention measures. Corps members Corps member receive resources to help build vaccine confidence in the community. (Posted April 6)
  • CDC has created a central repository of guidelines, tools, and resources for states, tribes, localities, and territories that is designed to help get and keep America open. Visit the site to learn how to to quickly identify new cases, break chains of transmission, and protect first responders and health care workers from infection. (Posted April 6)
  • FEMA recently published a blog titled, "Easing the Vaccination Process for People with Developmental Disabilities." The blog outlines an expedited process and how it was successfully deployed in Pennsylvania. (Posted April 5)
  • A new study, titled "New obstacles and widening gaps: A qualitative study of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on U.S. adults with disabilities" states that the COVID-19 pandemic unequally impacts people with disabilities. The study participants indicated that to fully address their needs, disability perspectives must be included in the public health pandemic response. (Posted April 2)
  • The National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD) created, a website that provides trusted sources to help you make the right decision for you, your family, and your community. (Posted April 1)
  • Partnership with CDC to Increase Access to COVID-19 Vaccines: CDC and ACL will provide nearly $100 million in grants to help older adults and people with disabilities get vaccines (Posted March 29)
  • A new vaccination tracker will help determine vaccine eligibility for unpaid family caregivers in each state. The tracker was developed by the National Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Family Support. (Posted March 29)
  • A new report, titled "The COVID-19 Pandemic and People with Disabilities: Primary Concerns, the AUCD Network Response, and Needs for the Future" was just released. The report is authored by Patricia Ramos, M.P.H., RD, Wayne State University, Michigan Developmental Disabilities Institute, and eight contributing authors. The report discusses AUCD’s main focus during the COVID-19 pandemic, as identified by the needs expressed by the disability community and AUCD network members. (Posted March 29)
  • The Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) has produced two plain-language videos about COVID-19 vaccinations. The videos are available in both English and Spanish. (Posted March 29)
More of the latest additions
  • New website titled "Safe Return to School For All" summarizes the recommended best practices for returning safely to school. The websites recommendations are based on information from the Washington University Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center working with staff at the Special School District of St. Louis County, Missouri. (Posted March 26)
  • Webinar Series: COVID-19 Vaccination and Reaching People with Disabilities. AUCD, ASTHO and NACCHO will host sessions featuring state-level jurisdictions and CDC guests from 1-2pm ET on the following dates:
    • Webinar #1 and #2 have already been held.
    • Webinar #3 - Communication: Promising practices for reducing COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy and disseminating accessible messages
      Wednesday, April 7th - REGISTER
    • Webinar #4 - Prioritization: Promising practices for educating others about the importance of disability prioritizing in state vaccination plans
      Thursday, April 8th - REGISTER  (Posted March 23)
  • ACL has released updated FAQs about Centers for Independent Living and COVID-19 Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act of 2020 (CARES Act) Funding. (Posted March 18)The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released an update to the Coverage and Reimbursement of COVID-19 Vaccines, Vaccine Administration, and Cost Sharing under Medicaid, CHIP, and BHP vaccine toolkit. (Posted March 16)
  • AARP has developed a "When Can Older Americans Expect to Get a COVID-19 Vaccine?" resource that includes a tool with state-specific information. (Posted March 16)
  • The Federal Transit Administration-funded National Center for Mobility Management  is hosting a series of webinars on mobilizing transit and public health partnerships for COVID-19 vaccinations. The webinar will highlight practical community examples. The two remaining webinars will be held from 12-12:45pm EST on March 24 and April 7. (Posted March 10)
  • The HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response has a webpage dedicated to "Engaging Community-Based Organizations: Promising Practices for Reaching At-Risk Individuals for COVID-19 Vaccination and Information." The page outlines the CMIST Framework and describes funding that may be available to CBOs to support vaccination assistance efforts. (Posted March 9)


For Older Adults, People with Disabilities, Families, and Caregivers

  • Vaccine info
  • Staying safe
  • Your rights
Click here to learn more

For the Aging and Disability Networks

  • ACL Program Guidance
  • Promising Practices: Innovative approaches that may work in your community
  • Guidance from other federal programs
Find more resources hereFind a listing of upcoming and archived webinars

Ensuring Equity and Inclusion

Resources for

  • State and local COVID-19 response planners
  • Healthcare professionals
  • Educators
  • Businesses
  • others who need to understand the needs and issues of older adults and people with disabilities

Click here to find more helpful tips

Partnership to Increase Access to COVID-19 Vaccines for Older Adults and People with Disabilities

On March 29, President Biden announced several actions to expand access to COVID-19 vaccines, including an exciting partnership between ACL and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to increase vaccine access for people with disabilities and older adults.

These grants will provide assistance with scheduling vaccine appointments, transportation to vaccine sites, direct support services needed to attend vaccine appointments, connection to in-home vaccination options, and education about the importance of receiving the vaccine to older adults and people with disabilities. In addition, these grants will enable the aging and disability networks to identify people who are unable to independently travel to vaccination sites and to provide technical assistance to local health departments on improving access to vaccines for people with disabilities and older adults.

Approximately $5 million will fund national hotlines to connect older adults and people with disabilities with local disability and aging agencies that can assist with vaccine registration and provide services and supports necessary to get the vaccine. This funding will increase the capacity of the Eldercare Locator, a nationwide service funded by ACL that connects older Americans and their caregivers with trustworthy local support resources. It also will leverage the infrastructure of the Eldercare Locator to provide, for the first time, a similar service for people with disabilities. 

An additional $93 million will be distributed as follows:

  • State Units on Aging and Area Agencies on Aging ($50 million)
  • Aging and Disability Resource Centers ($26 million)
  • Centers for Independent Living that receive federal funding directly from ACL. ($5 million)
  • University Centers of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities ($4 million)
  • Protection and Advocacy systems ($4 million)
  • State Councils on Developmental Disabilities ($4 million)

Learn more about this partnership.

National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness

The National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness provides detailed information about the seven goals of Biden Administration's coordinated pandemic response. The 198-page strategy document begins with an overview of the goals, followed by details on a variety of topics, many of which intersect the core missions of the aging and disability networks. Among the topics covered are home and community based services, vaccination communication, impact on at-risk groups, equitable access to PPE, and community-based, multi-sector efforts to align health and social interventions. The strategy reflects the White House's priorities for addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Follow your state's guidance

Decisions about community measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, as well as vaccine prioritization and distribution, will be made by local and state officials, The links in this section will connect you to some state resources.

Links to state resources

Last modified on 04/13/2021

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