Long Co. group helping individuals with disabilities get vaccinated against COVID

Published: Sep. 30, 2021 at 3:32 PM EDT
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LONG COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - Health leaders and organizations continue to work to make sure everyone has access to vaccines against COVID-19.

However, WTOC learned some people with disabilities are facing barriers when it comes to getting vaccinated.

“I worry all the time about it,” said Jimmy Middleton, a father of a son with a disability.

Jimmy Middleton and his wife work hard to protect their 22-year-old son from catching COVID-19.

“Because Down syndrome children, a lot of disability children, their immune system’s low.”

According to the CDC, having Down syndrome can make you more likely to get severely ill from the virus. And that’s why Middleton wants his son JC to get the shot, but him having a disability makes it tough.

Middleton says JC can’t sit still for long periods and he doesn’t like being touched.

“He makes me move my hand away, because he don’t want nobody touching him.”

It’s a challenge familiar to Life Inc., an organization that provides resources to those with disabilities in Southeast Georgia.

“It’s important that when you think about your community, as a whole, people with disabilities are a part of the larger community. If they have a lack of access to things that should be a concern to the whole community,” said Angel Denardi, Life Inc. Associate Director.

Denardi says people with disabilities faced challenges even before the pandemic, but they’re more prevalent now. Many of the organization’s clients are calling for help to get the vaccine.

Denardi says in rural areas, like Long County, transportation is a huge issue.

“Some people are homebound. They can’t leave their home for any number of reasons. Sometimes it’s physical access, they don’t have a ramp.”

But she says organizations, such as Life Inc., are making sure they’re doing their part in helping get this high-risk group vaccinated, either by providing transportation, vaccine resources and much more.

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