Update to Participants, Families, and Staff of H’art Centre:
Ontario has announced its updated vaccination plan which details the specific people who are eligible to receive their COVID-19 vaccines. Phase 2 lists people with intellectual or developmental disabilities as a high-risk group and a priority group to get access to the vaccine beginning in April regardless of where they live. Also, service providers for the group appear to be included.
Since January, H’art Centre has been advocating that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities be a priority population to receive the COVID-19 vaccination during the phase 2 rollout. On January 26, board member Terry Krupa wrote a letter to Dr. Kiernan Moore, Medical Officer of Health KFL&A, and received a quick response and a follow-up from Lisa Munday, RD, BASc, MAN, Manager, Healthy Communities. We were pleased to learn that they are working to facilitate the immunization of vulnerable individuals and that the people served at H’art Centre were on their radar.
After, we continued to research and monitor information about priorities for phase 2 of the vaccine rollout. It became clear that adults with intellectual disabilities and developmental disabilities who live in group homes or have multiple health conditions would be prioritized in phase 2. Given the high risk of transmission in shared living circumstances, both to residents and residential staff, and the health risks posed by multiple health conditions, this made sense. Since this group represented only a portion of those individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, we sent a follow-up letter to Dr. Moore and Ms. Munday on February 24th. The aim of the letter was to raise awareness and seek clarification that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities who do not live in congregate settings would be prioritized in phase 2.
With Ontario’s announcement, we are so glad to see this question clarified and pleased that the needs of these people were identified and responded to in the phase 2 plan. We would like to thank the public health officials at the KFL&A Public Health for being so responsive to our concerns and questions.
We will continue to share information with H’art Centre staff and families as details about vaccinations become clear and to ensure our artists and staff have the information they need to consider their options.
What Can You Do?
Read Ontario’s Phase Two Information Backgrounder: Click here
Become familiar with the KFLA Phase 2 Vaccination Strategy: Click here
Learn more about the vaccines and think about informed consent. Health Care Access Research and Developmental Disabilities (H-CARDD) has some resources you may want to check out as you consider the COVID-19 vaccine. The H-CARDD program was “developed to address disparities in health status and health care access faced by individuals with developmental disabilities in Ontario, Canada. Individuals with developmental disabilities often have complex health care needs, experience difficulty in accessing appropriate services, and tend to encounter health care providers with little knowledge of how to support them. The overall goal of the H-CARDD program is to monitor and improve the health and health care of Ontarians with developmental disabilities through engagement with researchers, policymakers, health care planners, clinicians, adults with developmental disabilities, and caregivers.”
Here are a few of their resources:
A short video. Self-advocates had a few questions about the COVID vaccines and doctors answer their questions. Watch here
Easy Read information on the vaccines. View here