Often overlooked in discussions about who should receive the COVID-19 vaccine sooner than later are people with developmental and intellectual disabilities, so it’s right for Greene County officials to join their Dutchess County counterparts in a call for greater vaccine availability to people with disabilities.
In a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro implored the governor to be more inclusive — not to mention more transparent — with the vaccination rollout.
Reductions in COVID-19 vaccine distribution for group homes and facilities that serve individuals with certain disabilities, thanks to the state’s system of prioritizing supplies for its own mass vaccination sites, are troubling. It is a clear case of the state prescribing health for many and the risk of illness for a select few. There is an obvious need to protect the disabled given the unique challenges they face, both physically and developmentally, but their needs, urgent as they may be, are cloaked in shadow.
Greene County Legislator Matt Luvera, R-Catskill, encouraged residents to show their support for Molinaro’s letter.
It seems that when it comes to the vaccine, the priorities of state government get thrown out of balance. Much is made of “our most vulnerable.” The disabled are vulnerable, too, and they ought to be moved closer to the head of the line for an opportunity to receive the vaccination.
Cuomo has to remember the people in group homes and congregate-care facilities that serve the developmentally disabled can contract COVID-19 as easily as people in nursing homes. The disabled have a right to good health. The governor and health officials have a duty to provide them with it.