As of March 29, 2021, all Texans ages 16 and older are eligible to get COVID-19 vaccines, regardless of job or health status.
FEMA Community Vaccination Centers
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is managing set-up and operations for Community Vaccination Centers. Vaccination centers are established by state, local, tribal, or territorial partners and may receive any combination of federal equipment, funding, and personnel. These locations may vary in size and number of vaccinations they can administer in a day.
Civil Rights Checklist (PDF)
FEMA’s Office of Equal Rights has provided this Civil Rights Checklist as a tool to assist communities in providing access to vaccine-related programs, activities, and services in a nondiscriminatory manner.
COVID-19 Best Practices Information: Considerations for People with Disabilities (PDF)
This best practices document from FEMA provides guidance to communities on how to best ensure that people with disabilities have adequate access to goods and services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 Vaccine Information (Toolkit)
The Texas Department of State Health Services has compiled a toolkit of information on COVID-19 vaccines. This includes details on phases of vaccine eligibility, where to get vaccinated, and the timeline for vaccine rollout in Texas.
The Facts About Covid-19 Vaccines for Direct Support Professionals (Webinar)
Direct-support professionals have been on the frontlines of supporting people with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 vaccines are now here and becoming widely available. In this webinar, the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals, in partnership with the American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry, address vaccine concerns and research-based information on the COVID-19 vaccines.
Things to Know About the COVID-19 Vaccination (FAQ sheet)
The Hawaii State Council on Developmental Disabilities, in partnership with the Special Parent Information Network and Hawaii Department of Health Developmental Disabilities Division, have developed “Things to Know About the COVID-19 Vaccination” (PDF). The FAQ sheet includes information about the COVID-19 vaccine and the importance of getting vaccinated.
Opinion: Individuals With Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Were Excluded From COVID-19 Vaccine Priority Guidelines (Article)
In this opinion article, Emily Hotez, Ph.D., discusses disability stigma in health care and how it led to the exclusion of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) from COVID-19 vaccination guidelines.
If you are a service provider at a COVID-19 vaccination location, the following recommendations serve to help you provide the support that people with disabilities may need when they receive vaccines. These tips are not comprehensive but serve as a thought-starter and step toward more accessible practices.
Successful Communication with People with Disabilities
Federal law requires COVID-19 vaccination sites and other medical facilities to ensure their staff can communicate effectively with people with disabilities.
There are many types of disabilities — some visible, some invisible — and each person has unique needs and preferences. The best thing to do is ask a person how you can support them while they receive a vaccine. TCDD, the Texas Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities, and the Texas Department of State Health Services have developed guidelines to help you communicate effectively. Download the guidelines (485KB, PDF).
Use Accessible Technology
Ensure that all people with disabilities can use websites and other tools to schedule appointments and complete other tasks necessary to receive vaccines. This may include making sure patients in the clinic community have reliable internet connections and that your website is accessible to people who use screen readers or other assistive technologies to access information online. You should also have phone registration for those who do not have access to online appointment tools.
Provide Accommodations for Physical Needs
Vaccination locations should consider specific accommodations for people who use wheelchairs, walkers, or other devices that assist mobility. This includes having accessible parking spaces, accessible restrooms, and making sure your location has space to allow for appropriate social distancing, including space for caregivers and service animals.
Provide Patient-Centered Communications and Interpretation
Since disabilities come in many forms, including some that may not be visible, it is important to ask each person about their own unique needs and preferences. Instructions should be clear and simple. Consider using pictures, gestures, and objects that can help illustrate words and instructions (For example: Point to your ID picture as you say who you are and point to any protective equipment as you speak about it.).
Also, you may need to have qualified interpreters for people who speak languages other than English or for people who are Deaf or hard of hearing and communicate using American Sign Language (ASL). If you can’t get an interpreter, you can use a video remote interpreting (VRI) service, which works similarly to FaceTime or Skype. For ASL support, FEMA offers interpretation service (PDF) that can be accessed with a smartphone.
Design Your Site to Accommodate Sensory Needs
People with IDD, including those with autism, may need sensory-related accommodations. This may include designating areas with minimal lights, sounds, and smells, as well as providing space away from crowded lines or waiting areas.