New York Times (February 17)
People over 65 have been among the first in line to receive COVID-19 vaccinations. And they are leading a wave in new travel bookings.
States Say Increased COVID-19 Vaccine Supply, Communication From Federal Government Needed For Vaccine Rollout.
CNN (2/16, McPhillips, Watts) directly contacted “all 50 states to understand any roadblocks or speed bumps they’ve experienced throughout the [COVID-19] vaccine rollout. For states that did not respond, CNN also tracked recent public statements by governors and state health department leaders.” State leaders “say they’re ready for the floodgates to open – for both physical supply of vaccine and communication from the federal government.” Within “the past week, leaders in most states have stated publicly or in interviews with CNN that vaccine supply is the key – or only – holdup to increasing the pace of vaccinations.” On Tuesday, NIAID Director “Anthony Fauci said on CNN that it would likely take until at least May for vaccine doses to be available to the general public, a delay from his earlier predictions that vaccines could be more readily available in April.”
Massachusetts Residents With Disabilities Push For Higher Priority On COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility List.
The Boston Herald (2/16, Kashinsky) reports dozens of people participated in a virtual Disability Advocates Advancing our Healthcare Rights forum “to push for higher priority and greater access to vaccines for some of...[Massachusetts’] most vulnerable.”
Colorado Families Dealing With Chronic Conditions Expect To Stay Locked Down As They Wait For The COVID-19 Vaccine.
The Denver Post (2/16, Wingerter) says, “When one person has a high-risk condition during a pandemic, it’s like the whole family does – and that’s why some Coloradans expect they’ll have to stay locked down for months as they wait for the COVID-19 vaccine.” Colorado’s COVID-19 “vaccine distribution plan doesn’t include family members of high-risk people, and puts those with chronic conditions in a lower priority group.”
Tennessee Expands COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility To Teachers, People Aged 65 And Older.
The AP (2/16, Loller) reports, “Tennessee is expanding eligibility for COVID-19 vaccinations to teachers, as well as people who are at least 65 years old, beginning Monday.”
Texas Group Urges Legislature To Revise Restrictions On Nursing Home Residents’ Visitation Rights.
The Washington Examiner (2/16, Blankley, Square) reports Texas Caregivers for Compromise says nursing home residents “are dying and experiencing worsening health conditions because of Gov. Greg Abbott’s [R] order restricting the[ir] access to family members.” On Friday, the organization launched a campaign on Twitter urging the state Legislature to take action against this restriction.
FOX6 Milwaukee (February 16)
The pandemic is taking a toll on people with disabilities in Wisconsin. In a matter of weeks, many should become eligible for vaccination… Matthew will be the last person in his household to become eligible for vaccination. Both of his parents received their first doses in Phase 1a because they are Matthew’s caregivers through the IRIS program. “Matthew is the highest risk and he's the only one who hasn't been able to get a vaccine," said Knowles. "We are concerned that we’re waiting until at least March 1st." Matthew is in line for vaccination after people age 65 and older in Phase 1b, along with others "enrolled in Medicaid long-term care programs" like Family Care, and 16 to 21-year-olds in the Children’s Long-Term Support Waiver Program and Katie Beckett Program.
Kaiser Health News (February 16)
Robin Davidson entered the lobby of Houston Methodist Hospital, where her 89-year-old father, Joe, was being treated for a flare-up of congestive heart failure. Before her stretched a line of people waiting to get covid-19 vaccines. “It was agonizing to know that I couldn’t get in that line,” said Davidson, 50, who is devoted to her father and usually cares for him full time. “If I get sick, what would happen to him?”
Kaiser Health News (February 16)
A mobile “strike team” is bringing vaccines to some of Northern California’s most vulnerable residents along with a message: This is how you avoid dying from covid-19.So far, that message has been met with both nervous acceptance and outbursts of joy from a population that has been ravaged by the disease. One 68-year-old pastor, who lives in a racially diverse, low-income senior housing complex, rolled down his sleeve after his shot and said he wants to live to see 70 — just to spite the government.
Older Americans Consider Resuming Certain Activities Following COVID-19 Vaccinations.
The Wall Street Journal (2/15, West, Subscription Publication) reports that older Americans who have received the COVID-19 vaccine now face a myriad of choices as they consider which activities to resume. According to the Journal, the CDC has indicated there isn’t sufficient data about COVID-19 vaccine protections to affect guidance on social distancing and masks.
Massachusetts Baby Boomers Waiting To Get COVID-19 Vaccine As State Prioritizes Those Over 75.
The Boston Globe (2/15, Weisman) reports numerous baby boomers in Massachusetts have been waiting for months, knowing “they’re next in line for shots under the state’s slow-rolling vaccination program.” Last week, state officials “unveiled a buddy system that allows younger people to get shots if they escort someone over 75.” Governor Charlie Baker said last Wednesday, “We’ll move beyond where we are now when we feel like we’ve done as much as we can do to get the folks who are part of the communities who are currently eligible vaccinated.”
Plan To Vaccinate More Massachusetts Seniors Against COVID-19 Sparks Concerns.
The Washington Times (2/15, Howell) reports “Massachusetts is rolling out a plan to get more of its seniors vaccinated for COVID-19 – a caregiver who brings someone 75 and older to mass-vaccination sites like Fenway Park can get their own shot during the visit.” It is “a creative way to help older adults navigate unfamiliar settings, as the state tries to” speed up “a rollout that’s given first doses to about 12% of residents.” However, it has “sparked concerns that other older adults will be bumped farther back in line, especially as younger, healthy people attempt to enlist senior companions through online posts.”
People With Disabilities Are Afraid They Will Be Left Behind In The COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout.
The AP (2/14, Whitehurst) reported, “Though many people with disabilities are more vulnerable to COVID-19, in some U.S. states they fear being left behind in a massive effort to get limited vaccines into the arms of those who need them most.” The article said those “with disabilities have been pushed down the priority list in places like North Carolina and California, where the state reversed course after days of public pressure.”
St. Louis-Area Group Homes Struggle To Find COVID-19 Vaccine For Residents.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch (2/14, Gray) reported, “Leaders of St. Louis-area group homes that serve intellectually disabled adults have struggled to secure doses of COVID-19 vaccine for their staff and clients.” Instead of “a state system linking specific vaccine vendors to prospective recipients high on the list of eligibility,” leaders were told “to be ‘scrappy’” by a Department of Mental Health official.
New Yorkers With Chronic Health Conditions Eligible For COVID-19 Vaccine.
The New York Times (2/14, Rosa, Rothfeld) reported, “New Yorkers with chronic health conditions that made them newly eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine flooded a state website and call center Sunday morning, leaving many unable to immediately schedule appointments at mass vaccination centers.” As of 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, state officials said “73,000 appointments had been scheduled.”
The AP (2/14, Villeneuve) reported that three million more New Yorkers “over 16 with so-called comorbidities” are now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. Eligible health conditions include “cancer, pregnancy, heart conditions, weakened immune systems, sickle cell disease, diabetes, neurologic conditions, liver disease, obesity, pulmonary disease, chronic kidney disease and intellectual and development disabilities such as Down Syndrome.”
ABC News (2/15, Schumaker) also reports.
Washington Post (February 13)
They thought they’d be near the front of the line for the vaccine. Now, they don’t know where they stand.
The long wait for vaccination has left many people across the country feeling anxious, desperate even. But for the young and disabled, and for the people who care about them, the realization of where they fall on priority lists has also left them feeling disregarded and discarded. They don’t want to displace others who are vulnerable, but they describe encountering state health department websites that aren’t accessible for everyone, frustrating wait times that differ from one state to the next for the same medical conditions, and few alternatives for people who are homebound or have limited mobility.
Massachusetts Legislators Urge Governor To Modify COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout.
The Boston Herald (2/13, Cotter) reported Massachusetts legislators have “sent a flurry of letters urging [Gov.] Baker [R] to make tweaks large and small to the vaccine rollout – rethinking the companion system, adding asthma to the list of eligible medical conditions – and have filed emergency legislation to improve equity, create a preregistration system and a centralized online portal for appointment booking.”
WBRC (February 13)
There is a contingent of the population that hasn’t been discussed much, who doesn’t know how they’ll get vaccinated. People with disabilities are uniquely at risk during the pandemic, but many cannot get vaccinated yet. Under the first phase in Alabama, those who were in nursing homes were vaccinated --- but Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program’s director says there was a blind spot.
Black Americans Reportedly Disadvantaged By COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout That Prioritizes Those Over 75.
ProPublica (2/12, Thomas) reported, “Prioritizing COVID-19 vaccinations for people 75 and up can leave out Black Americans, who tend to die younger than their white counterparts.” The article highlighted the situation in majority-Black Shelby County, where “22% of Shelby County vaccine recipients are Black, compared to 43% who are white” as of February 6. According to the article, “experts attribute the vaccination disparity to a number of factors, including poor internet access, lack of transportation and distrust of the medical system caused by racist practices such as the federal government’s Tuskegee syphilis study.”
Californians With Underlying Health Conditions Will Be Eligible For COVID-19 Vaccine March 15.
The Los Angeles Times (2/12, Sharp) reported that on Friday, California officials announced people aged “16 to 64 who are disabled or at high risk for morbidity and mortality from COVID-19 will be eligible for vaccination beginning next month.”
According to the San Francisco Chronicle (2/12, Ho), “The underlying conditions that will result in vaccine eligibility on March 15 include cancer, chronic kidney disease at stage four or above, chronic pulmonary disease, Down syndrome, a weakened immune system from a solid organ transplant, sickle cell disease, pregnancy, heart conditions, severe obesity...and Type 2 diabetes.”
The AP (2/12, Ronayne, Thompson) reported that the state “will soon expand its list of people eligible for coronavirus vaccinations by another 4 million to 6 million people.”
The Guardian (February 12)
The state’s plan has been criticised as too little too late, leaving those with high-risk conditions uncertain about when their turn will come.
NorthJersey.com (February 12)
About 37% of New Jersey's vaccines have gone to senior citizens, according to state data, while 62% have been given to 18- to 64-year-olds. With nearly 1.2 million doses administered in New Jersey as of Thursday, that means about 444,000 doses have gone to New Jersey's 1.5 million residents 65 years and older.
Nebraska Governor Continues To Focus On Vaccinating Older Residents Despite Pressure From Teachers.
The Omaha (NE) World-Herald (2/12, Robb, Dejka) reported, “Gov. Pete Ricketts [R] is reinforcing the state’s focus on vaccinating older Nebraskans against COVID-19 as teachers keep pressing to move up the priority list.”
Massachusetts Offers COVID-19 Vaccine To Those Who Accompany Elders To Mass Vaccination Sites.
The New York Times (2/12, A1, Barry) reported on its front page, “Massachusetts began a first-in-the-nation experiment, offering vaccinations to those who accompany people who are 75 and older to mass vaccination sites.” The intent is “to ease access problems for older people, who have struggled to book online appointments and travel to sports stadiums.”
Disability Rights Advocates Urge Massachusetts To Expand COVID-19 Vaccine Priority To More People With Underlying Conditions.
The Boston Globe (2/12, Pan) reported, “Disability rights advocates have been pleading with Massachusetts officials for weeks to revise the state’s vaccine allocation plan and expand priority to more people with underlying conditions.” They say “relying solely” on the CDC’s non-exhaustive list “disadvantages people with rare diseases.”
Next Avenue (February 11)
The mother of a 28-year-old with autism worries about the continued risks he faces.
AL.com (February 10)
Eric Peebles has spastic cerebral palsy from oxygen deprivation at birth and is functionally quadriplegic. He gets around in a powered wheelchair and needs help with essential tasks like bathing and dressing. Peebles doesn’t want to live in a nursing home at age 39, and for that reason, he is not yet eligible for a vaccine… This week Alabama expanded vaccine eligibility to people 65 and older, teachers, and some essential workers. But disability advocates in Alabama are speaking out over worries that some of the state’s most vulnerable residents are at the back of the line for COVID-19 vaccines. The expansion effectively delayed vaccination for people with pre-existing health conditions and for the disabled. The CDC and the state had originally planned for people with underlying health conditions to get the vaccine alongside those 65 and older.