Expanding COVID-19 Vaccine Access for People with Disabilities and Support Staff

The University of Maine Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies (CCIDS), Maine’s University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD), has been awarded funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to help increase COVID-19 vaccinations among people with disabilities and the people who support them.

Funding for the 18-month project, Expanding Disability Network’s (UCEDDs) Access to COVID-19 Vaccines, was made possible through a partnership between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Administration for Community Living (ACL). These grants to the disability networks in every U.S. state and territory will help provide critical services to overcome barriers that are preventing millions of those most at risk for serious illness and death from COVID-19 from receiving vaccines.

CCIDS is partnering with its Maine Developmental Disabilities Network partners: the Maine Developmental Disabilities Council; Disability Rights Maine; and Speaking Up for Us of Maine; to increase COVID-19 vaccine access for people with disabilities and the people who support them. Activities will include one or more of the following: education about the importance of receiving a vaccine; identification of people unable to independently travel to a vaccination site; assistance with scheduling a vaccine appointment; arranging or providing accessible transportation to a vaccination appointment; providing companion/personal support; reminding people with disabilities of their second vaccination appointment, if needed; and/or providing technical assistance to local health departments or other entities on vaccine accessibility.

Dr. Alan B. Cobo-Lewis, CCIDS (ME UCEDD) director and associate professor of psychology, is the principal investigator for the project.

Photo credit: Image by Bihlmayer Fotografie (istockphoto.com) Standard license.