ARCH Statement on Reported Barriers to Vaccines
March 19 2021
Despite “adult chronic home care recipients” being identified in Phase 1 of Ontario’s vaccine plan, it has been reported to ARCH that eligible persons with disabilities have had little to no success in accessing vaccines across the Province. Many regional health authorities are only vaccinating on an age-basis eligibility. Further, the provincial online vaccine booking system is only open to persons over 80 years of age.
The disparity between what is actually happening on the ground and the initial direction from the Province could be, at least in part, due to the lack of direction coming from the Provincial government to the regional health authorities on how to distribute the vaccine to individuals identified in Phase 1. It is exacerbated by the public messaging from the Province, which has repeatedly preferred the shortened sound bite of “80 years of age or older” for vaccine eligibility, instead of referring to the more accurate, but lengthier, categories of individuals listed in Phase 1.
“We are deeply concerned that persons with disabilities who are at heightened risk because of their care and support relationships are falling through the cracks and are not getting access to vaccines,” said Robert Lattanzio, Executive Director at ARCH Disability Law Centre.
As early as February 24, 2021, ARCH identified the potential consequences of insufficient or inconsistent direction to the regional health authorities. The risk being that vaccine distribution is under-inclusive, and persons with disabilities who are otherwise identified as a priority group and should be receiving vaccines are not (to read ARCH’s previous statement, go to: https://archdisabilitylaw.ca/arch-disability-law-centre-statement-on-ontario-governments-recent-release-of-new-information-about-vaccine-distribution/)
People who are “adult chronic home care recipients” and experiencing barriers in accessing the vaccine are welcome to contact ARCH’s Summary Advice and Referral Service for free confidential legal advice toll-free at 1-866-482-2724 or by email at [email protected] . We want to continue to develop our understanding of the barriers facing persons with disabilities in getting the vaccine.
If you are an “adult recipient of chronic home care” and you:
· have received a COVID vaccine, OR
· are in the process of receiving one, OR
· have not been able to make an appointment to get the vaccine,
we invite you to complete the short questionnaire to track what is happening across the province. All answers will remain anonymous. To access the questions, go to: www.archdisabilitylaw.ca