ATLANTA, GA – The Center for Leadership in Disability (CLD) at Georgia State University is launching a new public health initiative: COVID-19 Vaccine Access and Confidence for People with Disabilities. This initiative is focused on building vaccine confidence in the disability community through conversations among people with disabilities, families, and the direct support workforce during the 2021 summer months. CLD is one of 67 University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDDs) in the US; the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) is funding 23 of these UCEDDs to promote vaccine confidence by sharing information about the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine for people with disabilities in community meetings, newsletters, social media campaigns, short videos, and through other local outreach efforts.
“This work builds upon our innovative efforts throughout the COVID-19 crisis to support vaccination efforts for individuals with disabilities, their families, and direct support professionals. Family members are important influencers in the lives of people with disabilities; and it is critical that we promote accessibility at all steps of the vaccination process to ensure all people with disabilities can access a vaccine,” says Erin Vinoski Thomas, SPH faculty member and CLD Director of Health and Wellness.
Through this initiative, CLD will gather video testimonials from people with IDD, family members, and direct support professionals who have had at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Videos will be compiled and disseminated through Georgia’s disability community to increase vaccine confidence and address vaccine misinformation.
COVID-19 impacts all communities – including the over 61 million Americans who have disabilities. However, current vaccination efforts do not consistently include this population. AUCD has set a goal for all people with disabilities in the US to have access to the COVID-19 vaccine by July 26th—the anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). This project will promote vaccine confidence among Georgians with disabilities and their supports to contribute to increased health and safety for all.