People with disabilities must have priority in vaccine process

First and foremost, I would like to give my sincere gratitude to Gov. Tim Walz for keeping all Minnesotans safe […]

graphic highlighting a person in a wheelchair

First and foremost, I would like to give my sincere gratitude to Gov. Tim Walz for keeping all Minnesotans safe during the first ten months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although Walz has had to deal with a lot of unnecessary pushback, he has done everything right within his power to prevent the spread of this nasty virus. 

With that said, as we head into the new phase of the pandemic, I wholeheartedly want to remind the administration that individuals with disabilities should be on the priority list to receive the COVID-19 vaccination for a couple of reasons. Those with moderate or severe disabilities are at a higher risk of exposure and infection, and that could lead to hospitalizations that are tougher on those individuals than others. In addition, quite a few have weaker immune systems that could lead to troublesome side effects if they catch the virus. 

Plus, many of us with impairments live in group homes, attend day programs which results in close contact with others, and attend appointments where the virus possibly could spread. By vaccinating them, families would not fear doing daily necessities since they would have protection. 

The Walz administration has a great task ahead of them; every decision needs to be made diligently. Two factors should be considered who gets the vaccine first. Who is most susceptible to getting the virus, and if they get it, how bad could their symptoms be. Those two ingredients make the argument of vaccinating those with impairments a slam dunk. 

While I ultimately agree that frontline workers should get the first shot, those with severe impairments should be next in line. We must protect our most vulnerable first. 

I hope to see an announcement from Walz about that important cluster of individuals shortly. 

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