The vaccine’s distribution this week gives us new hope that the isolation triggered by the pandemic should end sometime in the coming year.
We are heartened that persons with disabilities and their staff in congregate living settings appear to be covered in “Phase One” of distribution. The Baker administration has shared its timeline for the vaccine distribution on this page.
But there are many persons with disabilities who may not be covered during this phase. Some of these are assisted by staff in individual home settings, while others are attending center-based day programs, which also are congregate settings.
Whether in private homes or day settings, staff often provide care in intimate fashion: tooth brushing, toileting, helping with mask placement, and much more. During any of these close encounters, the virus will easily pass by an asymptomatic staff person or individual which we know comprise 40% of those with the virus.
Moving all persons with disabilities and their caregivers to “Phase One” in the distribution cycle is the right move.