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Disability advocates push for access to COVID-19 vaccines in their community

Advocates say the disabled community is high risk and wants to be apart of the first round of vaccinations
Posted at 11:10 PM, Jan 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-18 23:10:27-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — People living with disabilities want to be made a priority when it comes to the COVID-19 vaccine.

"I'm scared to death," said Amanda Baker.

Baker says without the COVID-19 vaccine she feels helpless.

She's under 65 and doesn't qualify for the vaccine as it stands in Florida right now.

Her daily life requires help from caregivers, sometimes several in one week.

"I have no choice. They come in and out and they have other jobs that put them in contact with other people," Baker said.

Advocates with Disability Rights Florida say there are thousands just like Baker in Florida.

This is why they sent a letter to the Governor, urging him to consider them as part of the most vulnerable populations despite age.

"It's really difficult for them to do things like social distancing if you need someone to assist you with bathing or with feeding or getting dressed. You can't stay six-feet away from that individual," Olivia Babis with Disability Rights Florida said.

Suzanne Sewell with the Florida Association of Rehabilitation Facilities, says if you're living in a residential facility and are 65 and up with disabilities another issue is distribution.

"We would like to see it happen faster and quicker but it's a big need and evidently there are some challenges in receiving the distributions that are needed, said Sewell.

Baker says with many people in the disabled community suffering from other underlying health conditions, if you get sick it could be serious.

"Our lives depend on the people that come in to help us and you're putting our lives at risk and their lives at risk by not giving us access to the vaccine," said Baker.

They're hoping change comes soon.