The Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD) is encouraged by the state’s decision to include individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and their caregivers in the next round of COVID-19 vaccine eligibility. According to Governor Kemp’s press conference on February 25, 2021, revisions to Georgia’s vaccination plan will go into effect on March 8. That means people with I/DD and their caregivers, as well as family members of children with complex medical needs, will be able to begin receiving the vaccine, along with other newly eligible populations.
Alongside a strong network of grassroots advocates of individuals with I/DD, parents and other allies, GCDD has been fighting for people with disabilities to gain access to the vaccine. In the context of COVID-19, we know people with I/DD and their caregivers are at higher risk of contracting the virus; facing serious illness and hospitalization; experiencing a decreased quality of life, and even succumbing to death as a result of contracting the virus.
We acknowledge the work that Governor Kemp and his team continue to do to protect Georgia’s citizens, and GCDD remains in close discussions with the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH). Together with DPH, we look forward to collaborating and advising on logistical considerations such as transportation; rollout plans and equitable access; continued eligibility expansion to all medically fragile persons; and more.
People with disabilities comprise approximately 27% of Georgia’s population. People with disabilities are our family members, our neighbors, our teachers, our health care providers and our front-line workers. GCDD remains committed to advocating for all Georgians with I/DD and advancing our mission to bring about social change, public policy and innovative practices that increase opportunities for individuals with I/DD and their families to thrive where they live, learn, work, play and worship in Georgia’s communities.