Persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities, their family members, and support workers (PSWs and DSPs) are NOW eligible for the COVID-19 Vaccine
There are 3 Phases to the vaccine roll-out, based on those people at the greatest risk of:
- Getting COVID-19, or
- Getting sick with COVID-19.
Adults and youth (age 16+) with developmental disabilities, their families, and support workers are in Phase 1a.
We know you have lots of questions. We will be posting information as quickly as we learn of it, for each county that we serve.
We are working closely with our Local Public Health Authorities (LPHA) to learn how they will be providing the vaccine and what you will need to access their services.
Below is a listing of topics you may have questions about. See below this listing for information about each topic.
- When will Brokerage customers be eligible to get a vaccine?
- When can support providers who are not paid (natural support providers) get a vaccine?
- When can PSWs and DSPs get a vaccine?
- How much vaccine is available right now?
- Do I have a choice about getting the vaccine?
- How do I know if the vaccine is right for me?
- How do I get the vaccine?
- What if I need help to get vaccinated?
- What proof will I need to provide that I am part of Phase 1a-Group 3?
- What if OHA moves on to the next phase and I miss my group?
- What do I need to bring to my vaccine appointment?
- What should I expect after I get the vaccine?
- Can I get rid of my masks and resume normal life after I get the vaccine?
When will Brokerage customers be eligible to get a vaccine?
All people with an intellectual or developmental disability are now able to get the vaccine. This includes all people enrolled in a Brokerage.
When can support providers who are not paid (natural support providers) get a vaccine?
People who live with and/or provide care in close contact to a person who has an intellectual or developmental disability are now eligible to get the vaccine.
When can PSWs and DSPs get a vaccine?
PSWs and DSPs are considered part of Phase 1a-Group 3, the same group as customers. They are eligible to receive a vaccine now.
PSWs are eligible for vaccines under Phase 1a. PSWs interested in the vaccine can complete a form on the SEIU’s website to establish their eligibility for Phase 1a. A link to the form is listed below:
For questions about the form or PSW vaccine eligibility, please contact SEIU.
How much vaccine is available right now?
Oregon does have a limited supply at the time of the drafting of this document, early in January 2021. This is why Oregon has created a roll-out plan. More vaccine doses are arriving regularly.
Do I have a choice about getting the vaccine?
Yes, most people will be able to choose whether or not they get the vaccine. Not everyone will choose to be vaccinated. Doctors may advise a very small number of people not to get the vaccine during the initial roll-out.
Note that it is legal for employers to require that their employees have this vaccination, and they can ask for proof of vaccination. Proof of vaccination may also be a requirement to travel to certain countries.
How do I know if the vaccine is right for me?
Your best source of personalized medical advice is your doctor. The vaccine is generally recommended as our best opportunity to avoid COVID-19 infection. Though the vaccine development process included a wide variety of individuals and populations, there are a few small subsets of people who were not included as part of vaccine trials. Because there is not yet testing data to support vaccination for those specific sub-groups, they may not be encouraged to be vaccinated initially. If you have concerns, your doctor will be able to help you decide what is best for you.
For more general information, Oregon has provided many resources to assist you in your research, including:
How do I get the vaccine?
Information is coming out continuously about vaccine distribution. As of this publication, we know that local public health entities will determine how the vaccine is administered in each community around Oregon. This means that the answer to this question in Clackamas County may be different than it is in Coos County. To find more information about your Local Public Health contact, you can go to Oregon Health Authority : Local Public Health Authority Directory : Technical Assistance for Local Public Health Authorities. Please do pay attention to local media announcements and local information campaigns that share news about vaccine clinics and other ways to get the vaccine. Know that you are eligible now, and that means that any clinic or other avenue for getting the vaccine should be open to you.
What if I need help to get vaccinated?
Your Brokerage Personal Agent is here to help you navigate this process. We will contact you as information becomes available about where and when vaccines are available. Your Personal Agent is not able to administer the vaccine, nor do Brokerages have medically-trained personnel on staff. If you need support to get to a vaccination site, we will help as needed, which may look like: helping to schedule an appointment with you, helping to coordinate provider support, arranging transportation, etc. We cannot give you the shot, but we can help you get to someone who can.
What proof will I need to provide that I am part of Phase 1a-Group 3?
Based on most recent communication, you (or a supporter) will need to be able to state that you are in “Phase 1a-Group 3” and what category you fall into:
- Person with an IDD diagnosis
- Person providing support to an individual with an IDD diagnosis
- Parent helping care for a child with an IDD diagnosis
What if OHA moves on to the next phase and I miss my group?
People eligible during 1a can request a vaccine at any point in the process. You will not lose your spot in line. As OHA moves down the vaccine priority list, they open the opportunity up to more people without closing it to others.
What do I need to bring to my vaccine appointment?
You should be given specific information about this when you make your vaccine appointment. You will most likely need to be prepared to talk with your vaccination provider about:
- What makes you eligible for vaccination (diagnosis of developmental disability, status as a person providing support,etc.)
- Your medical conditions
- All known allergies
- Any previous experience with vaccine side effects
- Your address/where you live
What should I expect after I get the vaccine?
As is common with most vaccines, you may experience pain or discomfort after the shot as part of your body’s immune response. Side effects that have been reported with the COVID-19 vaccines include injection site pain, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain, fever, injection site swelling, injection site redness, nausea, feeling unwell, and swollen lymph nodes. The purpose of any vaccine is to stimulate an immune response from your body so that it can fight off infection threats as they occur. This immune response may cause some aches and pains, but it is all in the service of making sure that you are protected from the worst effects of COVID-19.
The vaccination process should include an observation period of around 15-20 minutes after administration to ensure there are no actual side effects, such as an allergic reaction. Such reactions are rare, but have occurred in a small handful of instances. If you know of any allergies that you have (or allergies that a family member getting the vaccine has), please make sure that you discuss those with your provider.
This vaccine requires 2 doses, about 3 weeks apart. You should be prepared to schedule a return visit. Please note that, while honoring this vaccination schedule gives you the best chance to develop the immunity you need, it is possible to get your second “booster” shot later than indicated and still experience the benefit. Make a plan to get your second shot as prescribed, but do not give it up entirely if something gets in the way of that plan.
Can I get rid of my masks and resume normal life after I get the vaccine?
We will all be asked to continue to take safety precautions after vaccination. The real measure of whether or not the vaccine is working is whether the disease is still moving from person to person in our communities. Until the infections rates, hospitalization capacity, and other indicators of community transmission go down, we will need to keep our masks on, keep our distance, and avoid indoor gatherings.