People with disabilities receiving long-term services and supports (LTSS) in institutions other than nursing and assisted-living facilities and those in some community-based settings face an elevated risk of COVID-19 infection, an issue brief from the Kaiser Family Foundation finds. According to the brief, COVID-19 Vaccine Access for People with Disabilities, there were 111,000 cases and more than 6,500 deaths as of February 11 in the thirty-one states reporting data on COVID-19 cases and twenty-five reporting data on COVID-19 deaths in such settings, with infection rates ranging from 19 percent to 50 percent in institutional settings and from 2 percent to 19 percent in community-based settings. (Infection rates were about 50 percent in nursing homes and 8 percent in the general population.) Other research has shown that people of color with disabilities are disproportionately impacted by the virus, while people with disabilities who rely on LTSS to meet daily needs also risk adverse health outcomes due to interruptions in care. The brief's authors note that few state vaccination plans explicitly mention LTSS sites or people with disabilities and may not include many disabilities among high-risk medical conditions to be prioritized; that people with disabilities may face accessibility issues at vaccination sites; and that people with disabilities and their care providers may benefit from more targeted messaging.
(Image credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)