CDC: Americans With Disabilities Have Harder Time Getting Covid Vaccine

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Americans with a disability were more likely to want coronavirus vaccines but were having a harder time getting them than other people, according to data released on Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a stark signal of what the agency’s scientists said was a need for health officials to remove barriers to access.

In a survey of nearly 57,000 people from May to June, unvaccinated people with a disability such as serious difficulty seeing, hearing or walking were nearly twice as likely as their unvaccinated counterparts without a disability to say that they would definitely get vaccinated. (The survey only included people outside of nursing homes and other institutions.)

And yet, people with a disability were less likely to be vaccinated: Among 50- to 64-year-olds, 63 percent of people with a disability had received coronavirus shots, compared with 72 percent of other people. Among people older than 75, the gap was smaller but still evident: Eighty-eight percent of people with a disability were vaccinated, compared with 90 percent of people without one.

“Covid-19 vaccination coverage was lower among U.S. adults with a disability than among those without a disability, even though adults with a disability reported less hesitancy to getting vaccinated,” the study’s authors wrote.

The study noted that state-run vaccine registration websites were not all compliant with basic accessibility recommendations. It suggested that online scheduling systems offer call lines for people who needed help booking vaccinations.

It also said that not all vaccination sites had American Sign Language interpreters or workers trained in helping people with developmental disabilities, and that getting to those sites in the first place was often difficult for people with a disability.

“These efforts would be relevant to the reduction of health disparities related to disability beyond the Covid-19 pandemic,” the study said.