Vaccinations will help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and bring this pandemic to an end. The Food and Drug Administration has authorized three COVID-19 vaccines, which are now being distributed by states and territories.
Need help getting vaccinated?
Trained staff are standing by to help you find vaccine locations, make appointments, and connect to local services and supports if you need them to access vaccines. They also can connect you to information to answer questions or concerns you may have about the vaccine.
- For people with disabilities: The Disability Information and Assistance Center (DIAL) can be reached by calling 888-677-1199 or by emailing DIAL@n4a.org any time.
- For older adults: Call the Eldercare Locator at 800-677-1116 or visit the website to chat live or browse resources.
Both phone lines are staffed Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Eastern).
The facts about COVID-19 vaccinations
- CDC Resources
- ACL's Self Advocacy Resource and Technical Assistance Center's 4-page plain language booklet was created by and for people with intellectual disabilities. It includes basic information people need to know about the COVID-19 vaccine.
- Additional plain-language fact sheets are available from the Hawaii State Council on Developmental Disabilities and the Nevada Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities.
- The National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD) has COVID-19 vaccine materials specifically designed for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities who have extreme low literacy including "How I get my COVID-19 shot" and a "Stay safe from COVID-19 Poster".
- Plain-language vaccine resources for people with developmental disabilities from the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN):
- The Association of University Centers on Disability: Frequently asked questions about COVID-19 vaccine distribution considerations for the disability community.
- 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 National Center for State Courts, the American Bar Association, and the National Guardianship Association have released a two-page brochure addressing common questions about guardians and the COVID-19 vaccine for long-term care facility residents.
ACL/CDC 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)
ACL guidance for the aging and disability networks
- ACL-CDC partnership to increase vaccine access: Funding FAQs for Developmental Disabilities Act programs (Posted April 14):
- ACL's COVID Vaccination FAQs for the Aging Network. This FAQ answers questions about vaccination administration and associated activities and costs.
Expanding vaccine access for people with disabilities and older adults
- 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.
- CDC: Vaccinating Homebound Persons
- CDC Community-Based Organizations Vaccine Toolkit
- 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.
- 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.
- The National Council on Aging (NCOA) is partnering with Lyft to provide older adults access to reliable, affordable rides to both of their COVID-19 vaccine appointments. Aging services professionals can help their older clients by using the special #LyftUp promo codes—worth up to $25 per person each way.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- The Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships has issued an FAQ and Guide to Supporting Vaccine Confidence for Faith and Community Leaders.
- All Department of Veterans Affairs facilities and clinics that administer COVID-19 vaccines are accepting walk-ins for eligible veterans, spouses and caregivers.
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 likely will not need to pay anything out-of-pocket to get the vaccine during this public health emergency.
- You cannot pay to put your name on a list to get the vaccine.
- You cannot pay to get early access to the vaccine.
- You will not be solicited door to door to receive the vaccine.
- No one from Medicare or the Health Department with 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.