COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Center for Disability Empowerment (CDE) was recently awarded a grant to help central Ohio people with disabilities living in Franklin, Delaware, Licking and Union counties get the COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters if they want them.

The grant was made possible by the Disability Vaccine Access Opportunities Center (DVAO).

People with disabilities are at the greatest risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19 and face a number of barriers that keep them from getting the vaccinations. Such barriers have included lack of internet access and lack of computers and computer skills; lack of transportation, lack of accessible websites for people with disabilities to independently make vaccination appointments, living in remote or rural areas, lack of accessible vaccination sites, stigma surrounding disability, limited or no access to specialists or medical professionals who can explain disability risk factors. People with disabilities can also be vaccination hesitant due to concern about interactions with daily medications and other disability-specific issues. CDE will assist people with disabilities with scheduling their vaccination appointments, provide them with reminders of their appointments, and will assist in coordinating transportation to and from the appointments when needed.

The Center for Disability Empowerment is building on its relationship with the Ohio Department of Health and is currently connecting with county health departments and other local agencies responsible for vaccine distribution to plan pop-up, mobile vaccination clinics to take place in late February/early March.

CDE is also networking with nonprofits within the four-county region to serve as community partners in order to reach a wide and culturally diverse population of people with disabilities in central Ohio who want the vaccinations. CDE is also reaching out to various locations in the four-county area as hosts for the mobile pop-up vaccination clinics.

As a part of the grant, CDE is also planning to host a webinar Feb. 3 about all aspects of accessibility that includes the use of plain language for greater access to populations of people with disabilities. All of Ohio’s county health departments and other interested organizations are invited to participate.

The COVID-19 vaccination grant extends through June.

The Center for Disability Empowerment (CDE) is a community-based, non-residential center that is driven by the choice and direction of people with disabilities. CDE serves individuals of any age, with any disability, who are residents of Franklin, Delaware, Licking and Union counties.

Submitted story

Submitted by the Center for Disability Empowerment.