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Some Louisiana citizens with disabilities eager to receive COVID vaccine

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BATON ROUGE - Louisiana is expected to receive thousands of COVID-19 vaccine doses next week and among those now eligible to benefit from the administration of such vaccines are locals with certain disabilities. 

Many registered attendees of The Arc, a Baton Rouge-based nonprofit facility that works timprove the quality of life for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families, are eager to be vaccinated so they can return to their social lives.

Gia Gervais, an Arc participant, told WBRZ that after being inoculated with the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, she hopes to return to a host of enjoyable activities that she enjoyed before the pandemic.

Gervais listed a few of the things she anticipates returning to doing, saying, "Enjoy my friends, go meet my new friends... and I want to go to events like LSU football, LSU baseball, LSU gymnastics."

"I'm all into LSU, because I am a diehard fan," Gervais said. 

According to a January 2021 USA Today article, individuals with developmental disabilities -especially those who reside in group homes- are highly susceptible to COVID-19 due to their circumstances, a situation that makes the swift administration of their vaccinations of utmost importance. 

USA reported that across the country, the priority level for people who live in group homes varies by state – even though the outbreak this spring showed that they are two to three times more likely to be exposed to and die from COVID-19 than the general population.

"Those of us who live in congregate settings, or who need in-person services and are unable to distance from staff, are at particularly high risk," said Sam Crane, legal director of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, which represents people on the autism spectrum.

The news outlet reported that some individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities require assistance while eating and bathing, so they can't keep physically distant. Many are unable to tolerate masks. They often have medical conditions that make them more vulnerable to serious infections with COVID-19.

"All these risk factors make it particularly critical that people with I/DD be prioritized for vaccination," Crane said via email.

Now that certain members of this population in Louisiana will receive their second dose of the potentially life-saving vaccine, they look forward to returning to a few of the social activities that allowed them to thrive before the novel coronavirus health crisis.

Click here for more information from the Louisiana Department of Health, on COVID-19 vaccinations. 


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