Family members of some people with developmental disabilities declared “health care workers” and are eligible for COVID vaccines in California

15 Jan

California Department of Developmental Services (CDDS or California DDS) has deemed that “family members of certain people are “health care workers” and are “prioritized for COVID-19 vaccination”.

In this letter, COVID-19 Vaccine Phase 1A Letter for Family Members, Nancy Bargman, Director at Cal DDS, states:

The purpose of this letter is to clarify that family members of certain people are “health care workers” pursuant to the State of California’s Vaccination Plan ( get-vaccinated), and thus are prioritized for COVID-19 vaccination within Phase 1A.

They have also included this on a FAQ on the Cal DDS website. This document, COVID-19 Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions, from the California DDS states:

Will any family member caregivers of regional center consumers be eligible to receive the vaccines during this phase?
Family members who care for regional center consumers at high risk of COVID-19 complications and related fatalities including the following conditions: cerebral palsy, down syndrome, epilepsy, and individuals who have specialized health care needs, including dependence upon ventilators, oxygen, and other technology. This list is not necessarily exhaustive.

This means that some family members/caregivers of developmentally disabled people in California are able to get the COVID-19 vaccine now.

Note a few points:
1) this doesn’t apply to the person who is actually in the high risk category. That’s not ideal, but this is a start

2) this applies to caregivers of individuals in high risk categories. They list some of these (including cerebral palsy, epilepsy, Down syndrome and people with special health care needs). While they say the list is not necessarily exhaustive, some categories of disability are probably not sufficient.

3) one needs eligibility documentation from their regional center:

The eligibility of these family members can be ascertained by documentation from their California regional center, verifying the qualifying condition of the member of their household who has an intellectual or developmental disability.

I don’t know what the actual process will be, but I can make suggestions:

1) reach out to your Regional Center contact. Ask for the procedure, and ask for what qualifies for eligibility documentation. Ask if the individual you are caring for qualifies.

2) check with your county for how you can get an appointment for a vaccine.

Here in Santa Clara County one can start withCounty of Santa Clara COVID-19 Vaccine Information for the Public. There is a section “Individuals who are eligible to be vaccinated, should contact their healthcare provider for more information or to make an appointment”. Find your provider and follow the link for the medical provider you use.

I am not in any of the named health care programs so I used the link for Good Samaritan Hospital which is for:

Individuals whose primary care provider is not with Kaiser, PAMF, Stanford, or SCVMC and are:

Eligible healthcare personnel in Phase 1A

Here’s what I did. I can’t say it’s the correct way to go (my contact at the regional center is on vacation so I did not get guidance from them–I’d suggest contacting your RC contact)

My explanation under “other” is:

Family member of individual with epilepsy: deemed health care workers by director of California Department of Developmental Services

I have an appointment. I will bring the letter (linked above) and my child’s IPP. I don’t know if this will work, but I will try and report back here.

By Matt Carey

2 Responses to “Family members of some people with developmental disabilities declared “health care workers” and are eligible for COVID vaccines in California”

  1. Disability January 17, 2021 at 10:47 #

    a very well explained and clear article. thx


  1. As of March 15 people with developmental disabilities can qualify for COVID vaccines in California | Left Brain Right Brain - February 18, 2021

    […] is a very welcome change. Caregivers were allowed access to the COVID vaccines earlier (Family members of some people with developmental disabilities declared “health care workers” and…). Now we can extend People with disabilities are at high risk from COVID and getting this […]

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