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Lawmakers Call On Ducey To Provide Vaccine Access To Arizonans With Disabilities

Last week, disability rights groups and advocates pleaded for Gov. Doug Ducey to  help people with disabilities and their caregivers get the COVID-19 vaccine.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers echoed that call on Wednesday in a letter to the Republican governor that highlighted how the state’s  recent decision to distribute the vaccine based primarily on age is leaving some of Arizona’s most vulnerable behind.

“Unfortunately, it has come to our attention that a recent change to the vaccine prioritization has resulted in further delaying one of the most vulnerable populations from receiving the vaccine,” according to the letter written by Rep. David Cook, R-Globe.

Those in the disability community who live at home must now wait to be vaccinated until they meet the state’s age requirements — and so must their caregivers. 

Disability advocates have spent months advocating for priority access to the COVID-19 vaccine, noting the community’s vulnerability to the virus. They cite research that shows, for example, that people with Down’s syndrome are 10 times more likely to die from COVID-19.

“Considering these individuals are at a higher risk of contracting and getting sick from COVID-19, we respectfully ask you to consider strategies to get these individuals vaccinated as quickly as possible so they can resume their lives and reinstate social connectedness without fear of contracting the virus,” Cook wrote.

Cook described the issue as “an oversight that can easily be addressed.”

Ben Giles is a senior editor at KJZZ.