Cincinnati Children’s doctor to speak at White House on vaccine eligibility for people with disabilities

Cincinnati Children’s doctor to speak at White House on vaccine eligibility for people with disabili

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - A Cincinnati Children’s doctor’s effort to get COVID-19 vaccines for people with disabilities is leading to an exciting opportunity.

Kara Ayers will be talking about a new tracking tool on Friday at a COVID-19 related task force that was created by President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.

The tool Ayers will discuss helps track and break down vaccine eligibility by state. The tool is designed for people with disabilities.

Accessing a COVID-19 vaccine has not been the easiest for many people.

There have been challenges like finding out where it is available, securing an appointment, and determining whether they are eligible to get the shot.

Having a disability has made the process a bit more complicated.

“Certainly, for many folks with disabilities, they have particular challenges that others may not,” said St. Joseph President Dan Connors.

Connors serves residents with developmental disabilities. Many are in wheelchairs, on ventilators, and have severe respiratory compromises.

Fortunately, most of Connors’ eligible residents have now been vaccinated.

When vaccine rollouts were first announced, Connors says many got lost on the prioritization list.

“They’re categorized as a person with a developmental disability, but other concurrent things that they have going on that make them an even higher priority because of their susceptibility,” explained Connors.

Ayers herself has a disability and had questions surrounding the vaccine rollout for states.

This then pushed Ayers to help create the COVID-19 vaccine prioritization dashboard.

In a collaboration with the Center for Dignity in Healthcare for people with disabilities and Johns Hopkins Disability Health Research Center, the tool helps people with disabilities navigate and get answers about the vaccine rollout across the country.

“How are these states defining disability? What conditions are included in chronic illness list,” Ayers asks.

Ayers is invited to speak at a White House COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force on Friday.

She says she will be presenting the prioritization dashboard and highlight the challenges and opportunities needed to best serve the disability community moving forward.

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