Vaccinations help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and reduce the severity of illness for those who get sick from the virus.
Staying up-to-date on vaccinations is the most important thing we all can do to protect ourselves from serious illness due to COVID-19. It’s particularly crucial for older adults and people with disabilities.
Everyone six months and older should get an updated 2023-24 COVID-19 vaccine. Some groups may need additional doses to stay up to date. Check out the CDC's COVID-19 vaccine recommendations to see how many doses you need.
Need help getting vaccinated?
Trained staff are standing by 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET to help you find vaccine locations, make appointments, and connect to local services and supports.
For people with disabilities
The Disability Information and Assistance Line (DIAL) can be reached by calling, texting, or video phoning 888-677-1199 or by emailing DIAL@usaginganddisability.org any time. Connect directly to an agent in American Sign Language.
For older adults
Visit the Eldercare Locator to chat or browse resources, or call 800-677-1116.
Just need to find a COVID-19 vaccine location in the U.S?
- Visit Vaccines.gov
- Text your ZIP code to 438829
- Call 1-800-232-0233 for help in English, Spanish, and many other languages
Need help affording a COVID-19 vaccine?
- CDC's Bridge Program for Accessing Updated COVID-19 Vaccines at No Cost may be able to help.
CDC Guidance for people who are immunocompromised
People with moderately to severely compromised immune systems are especially vulnerable to COVID-19 and may not build the same level of immunity from the vaccines as people who are not immunocompromised. Therefore, CDC vaccine recommendations for people who are immunocompromised may include one or more additional doses compared to the recommendations for people who are not immunocompromised.
The facts about COVID-19 vaccinations
- CDC Resources
- CDC recently released a collection of health promotion materials designed for people with disabilities to help improve hand hygiene, cleaning and disinfection, mask wearing, and physical distancing behavior. The collection includes posters, flyers and handouts, social media images, magnets and decals, storybooks, audio files, and a user guide to help partners understand the purpose and intended use of these materials.
- The National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD) has designed easy-read COVID-19 vaccine materials specifically for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including "How I get my COVID-19 shot social story" and a "Stay safe from COVID-19 poster."
- The National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD) created GetOutTheVaccine.org, a website that provides trusted sources to help you make the right decision for you, your family, and your community.
- The U.S. Surgeon General’s Community Toolkit for Addressing Health Misinformation provides specific guidance to individuals, health care professionals and administrators, teachers, school administrators, librarians, and faith leaders to understand, identify, and stop the spread of health misinformation in their communities.
- VaxForAll by InfiniTeach has developed a printable Vaccine Appointment Game Plan and Vaccine Appointment Checklist for autistic people.
Vaccines and long-term care facilities
A recording and materials are available for the February 2022 webinar, Accelerating boosters to support safe visitation for long-term care residents: watch on YouTube and download a list of resources presented during the webinar. The webinar, hosted by ACL and the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care, explored the important role families play in residents’ decisions to get boosters and how families can help their loved ones get fully protected. It also discussed strategies for ACL’s networks to effectively engage families on the importance of boosters. Speakers from CMS and the White House COVID-19 Response Team shared the latest information on boosters.
ACL/CDC partnership to increase access to COVID-19 vaccines for older adults and people with disabilities
ACL awarded two grants totaling $125 million to rapidly increase the number of older adults and people with disabilities who have received the updated COVID-19 vaccine.
The two grants have complementary, but distinct, areas of focus:
- Option A ($75 million): Will establish and leverage partnerships and engagement with area agencies on aging, state No Wrong Door systems/aging and disability resource centers, centers for independent living, other ACL-funded disability networks, and other community-based organizations that serve older adults and people with disabilities.
- Option B ($50 million): Will build and leverage partnerships with senior centers, community centers, and local community- and faith-based organizations that reach older adults and people with disabilities.
Both programs will prioritize reaching older adults and people with disabilities who have been historically underserved and who face additional barriers to accessing vaccines, including but not limited to those who are from communities of color, LGBTQ+, Native American, live in rural areas, are at risk of institutionalization, low income, or have limited English proficiency. The grantees selected for each option will closely coordinate efforts to ensure their activities are complementary, rather than duplicative.
For more information, read about the two grants, one to USAging and the other to NCOA.
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)
ACL guidance for the aging and disability networks
- ACL-CDC partnership to increase vaccine access: Funding FAQs for Developmental Disabilities Act programs:
- ACL's COVID Vaccination FAQs for the Aging Network. This FAQ answers questions about vaccination administration and associated activities and costs.
- Frequently Asked Questions on COVID-19 Vaccine Access Funding for No Wrong Door Systems/Aging and Disability Resource Centers
Expanding vaccine access for people with disabilities and older adults
In November 2022, Acting ACL Administrator Alison Barkoff joined an online discussion with Surgeon General Vivek Murthy about the power of partnerships in increasing bivalent vaccination of older adults and people with disabilities. Representatives from two ACL-funded aging and disability service providers — Walter Glomb, executive director of the Connecticut Council on Developmental Disabilities, and Bev Kidder , vice president of community programs at the Area Agency on Aging of South Central Connecticut — also participated in the discussion, sharing powerful stories of how collaboration can help older adults and people with disabilities get vaccinated.
Able South Carolina, Independent Living Resource Utilization (ILRU), and the CDC Foundation are expanding eligibility for grant-based funding to Centers for Independent Living (CILs) to support vaccination access for people with disabilities. Eligible CILs now include: Part B CILs that did not receive CARES Act funding, Part B CILs operating under a Part C CIL, Part C CILs not previously eligible for CARES Act funding in fiscal year 2020, and any Part B or Part C CIL working to improve COVID-19 vaccine access in unserved counties (funding must be used in underserved communities). Awards of up to $50,000 are anticipated. Interested eligible CILs are encouraged to apply for funding by completing an online application by 12:00 pm (noon) ET on Monday, January 24."Strategies for Helping Older Adults and People with Disabilities Access COVID-19 Vaccines" is a document developed by ACL that offers examples and promising practices for states, municipalities, community-based partners, and anyone else working to ensure that older adults and people with disabilities can get vaccinated for COVID-19.
A recording and slides from ACL's September 30, 2021 webinar, "Emergency Rental Assistance Program: Tools to Assist the People You Serve," are now available. View the webinar on YouTube for tools and information to help the people you serve learn more about, and apply for, Emergency Rental Assistance. The slides have links and additional useful information.
- The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced an additional payment amount for administering in-home COVID-19 vaccinations to Medicare beneficiaries who have difficulty leaving their homes or are otherwise hard-to-reach. This effort will help the approximately 1.6 million adults 65 or older who may have trouble accessing COVID-19 vaccinations because they have difficulty leaving home.
- The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and HHS have released a toolkit to support community health centers and HUD-assisted housing and homeless programs to partner on COVID-19 vaccination delivery, COVID-19 testing, and health care for residents of public housing, low-income housing (including housing for older adults and people with disabilities), and people experiencing homelessness.
- To ensure Medicare beneficiaries who have difficulty leaving their homes or are otherwise hard-to-reach can receive COVID-19 vaccinations, CMS announced in August 2021 that health care providers can receive additional payments for administering vaccines to multiple residents in one home setting or communal setting of a home. This includes smaller group homes, assisted living facilities, and other group living situations.
- CDC Community-Based Organizations Vaccine Toolkit
- HHS' We Can Do This campaign has developed English and Spanish vaccination education toolkits which include resources for older adults, caregivers, and aging organizations to build vaccine confidence.
- On May 11, CMS announced a new rule to improve COVID-19 vaccine access for older adults and people with disabilities in congregate settings. This new policy is a powerful step in furthering the Biden Administration’s commitment to equitable vaccine access and ensuring that those who are most at risk – including people living in congregate settings – have access. It also advances the Administration’s focus on racial equity by improving access to vaccines for staff, the majority of whom are women of color. This blog post by ACL Acting Administrator has more details.
- Transportation resources:
- LISC, Uber, Paypal Giving Fund, and Walgreens have joined forces to create the Vaccine Access Fund addressing health inequities and facilitating rides to vaccination sites and other places where people can learn about the vaccine from trusted contacts. Organization interested in funding can complete this form.
- The National Aging and Disability Transportation Center has compiled a list of programs providing transportation or connecting older adults and people with disabilities to vaccination sites.
- FEMA blog: Easing the Vaccination Process for People with Developmental Disabilities."
- 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.
- The HHS Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) released a brief on the potential barriers to accessing the COVID-19 vaccine faced by homebound older adults.
Beware of vaccination-related scams
Scammers rapidly alter their tactics and adapt their schemes to the changing landscape, and we anticipate that they will leverage the COVID-19 vaccine to prey on unsuspecting people. Be vigilant and protect yourself from potential fraud concerning COVID-19 vaccines and treatments.
Here are things you need to know about the COVID-19 vaccine:
- You will not be solicited door to door to receive the vaccine.
- No one from Medicare or the Health Department will contact you.
- No one from a vaccine distribution site or health care payer, like a private insurance company, will call you asking for your Medicare number, Social Security number, or your credit card or bank account information to sign you up to get the vaccine.
The Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) is ready to provide you with the information you need to PROTECT yourself from Medicare fraud, errors, and abuse; DETECT potential fraud, errors, and abuse; and REPORT your concerns. SMPs help educate and empower Medicare beneficiaries in the fight against health care fraud. Your SMP can help you with your questions, concerns, or complaints about potential fraud and abuse issues. It also provides information and educational presentations. To locate your local Senior Medicare Patrol, call 1-877-808-2468 or visit www.smpresource.org.
- SMP COVID-19 Fraud Page
- Scam Example: Eventbrite Fake Vaccination Appointments Scam
- Federal Trade Commission warns of COVID-19 Vaccine Scams