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Lincoln – The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the Nebraska Association of Local Health Directors (NALHD) are continuing to make sure that every Nebraskan with disabilities who wishes to be vaccinated against COVID-19 has the ability to do so.
“The COVID-19 emergency presented a unique set of challenges to all states with respect to ensuring that all residents had access to testing and ultimately vaccines," said Dannette R. Smith, chief executive officer of DHHS. “The emergency was even more impactful for Nebraskans with disabilities who may require reasonable accommodation to access health care, including access to vaccinations. In Nebraska, the local health districts/departments and the state's Department of Health and Human Services have worked to provide vaccination to individuals requiring accommodations due to disability."
Local health departments have provided in-home vaccinations to homebound people – in some cases at the request of individuals or their families and in other cases working with social service agencies, healthcare providers (including visiting nurses), and/or rural emergency managers to identify homebound individuals.
Additionally, Nebraska DHHS teamed up with the Munroe-Meyer Institute, CHI Health Center, and Community Pharmacy to hold a COVID-19 vaccination clinics for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and their caregivers/parents/staff in April. DHHS also partnered with Hy-Vee Pharmacy to hold two additional COVID-19 vaccination clinics for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their caregivers in Grand Island and Norfolk on April 9th.
Other regional efforts have included partnering with transportation providers to offer rides to accessible clinic sites, proactively phoning identified individuals with disabilities to provide information and verify their access to the vaccine, providing escorts at mass vaccination sites for people with limited vision, reaching out to groups that serve and/or advocate for individuals with disabilities to enlist their support in publicizing vaccination opportunities and connecting people who need more help to their local health department, and providing interpretation (including American Sign Language) at vaccination events.
Nebraskans, who are not yet vaccinated and who have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more life activity, or who have had a history of such an impairment, are eligible to receive reasonable accommodations and should reach out directly to their local health departments.
Statements from Nebraska DHHS and NALHD can be accessed on the DHHS website:
Nebraska DHHS Statement