Family Caretakers May Be Eligible for COVID-19 Vaccine

There is good news on the vaccine front for family members of Californians with disabilities. According to a recent release from the CA Department of Developmental Services, people who care for a relative with some conditions qualify as “health care workers” and are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in Phase 1A.

Eligibility must be shown using documentation from a regional center or by showing medical information about the family member. A non-exhaustive list of conditions is provided by the DDS, but unfortunately at this time there is no full list of who qualifies under this rule. The conditions explicitly identified include “cerebral palsy, down syndrome, epilepsy, and individuals who have specialized health care needs, including dependence upon ventilators, oxygen, and other technology.”

The vaccines are available at hospitals and long-term care facilities currently, and those who qualify under the new rules should contact their doctor or regional center for guidance on where they can be vaccinated.

DDS identifies these groups as part of Phase 1A, along with workers at regional centers.

Phase 1A, Tier 2 for vaccine administration includes staff and residents of the following:

  • Intermediate care facilities for persons who need non-continuous nursing supervision and supportive care and other licensed adult residential facilities.

Phase 1A, Tier 2 for vaccine administration also includes the following community health workers:

  • Home health care and in-home supportive services
  • Community health workers, including promotoras
  • Supported living services
  • Family Home Agencies and contractors
  • Congregate Living Health Facilities
  • Individuals providing in-home services such as respite workers, applied behavioral analysis providers, staff providing independent living skills training, and staff providing Early Start services

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