California Governor Gavin Newsom’s announcement on Monday regarding age criteria for vaccination resulted in public disagreements. The disabled patients are worried about being neglected through this action.
Around 700+ disability rights advocates gathered at a virtual town hall to discuss the decision.
California Imposes Age Bars For Covid Vaccine
A 45-year-old cerebral palsy patient named Tim Jin criticized by stating that the governor’s action is unacceptable as people with disabilities need to be given vaccine priority regardless of age, status, or health.
The state had previously modified its vaccine priority list earlier this week by shifting people aged 65 and above to Phase 1B which includes workers from various sectors.
Later Newson announced that once Phase 1B vaccination is completed, the state would then move on to vaccinating people based on their age instead of medical necessity or work type.
He added that vaccination on the basis of age can help in faster distribution and administration.
Initially, only ages 75 and above were in the first part of Phase 1B. Ages 65 to 74 were included in the second part with workers and poor/homeless people.
Ages 50 to 64 which comprised of healthy individuals and younger people with underlying medical conditions who are highly prone to covid are allotted to Phase 1C. There are no instructions so far as to when Phase C would be given vaccines.
California’s vaccine website suggests that the state is currently at Phase 1B.
President of Disability Voices United Judy Mark who’s a child is also a disability patient stated that the age bar can result in a huge number of disabled individuals and people with underlying medical conditions getting neglected.
She also said that Newsom’s decision doesn’t follow any scientific reasoning as in reality disabled patients are more prone to the virus and death.
Studies show that people with disabilities are prone to a higher death rate than non-disabled.
Disability advocate of California’s community Vaccine Advisory Committee, Aaron Carruthers stated that disabled individuals should be given the first priority for vaccination and that the state government should ensure to provide them with the necessary supply and assistance.
Judy Mark added to this statement saying that many states have been providing vaccine supply to the disabled at first and only then proceeds with the rest of the groups.
By shifting the disabled to the last group, it would result in them having to wait longer for the vaccines.
Also, with the age criteria, the younger individuals or workers too would have to wait longer.
Colored communities in California are in fact impacted the worst by the virus as they are unable to get any treatment due to racial discrimination.
Newsom had previously been criticized for his slow distribution of vaccines. A few lawmakers also called him out for spending too much time on planning for vaccine administration instead of taking quick actions.