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COVID-19 Vaccine Q&A: Vaccine availability for families with children who experience a disability

Send us your questions about the COVID-19 vaccination process.
Send us your questions about the COVID-19 vaccination process.(KTUU)
Published: Jan. 20, 2021 at 12:36 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Alaska News Source is answering viewer questions about the COVID-19 vaccine.

Question:

“Is there any discussion amongst the state medical experts regarding the prioritizing of family bubbles that have a special needs child with comorbidities, such as down syndrome? If no, please explain. If yes, how do we get on a vaccination list specific to these groups?” - Mary

Answer:

In a regularly-scheduled videoconference on Jan. 14, Alaska Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink said there is no priority group just for parents of children who experience disabilities, children who could be considered to have comorbidities or illnesses that could place them at higher risk for complications associated with COVID-19.

In the media availability and other appearances, Zink explained that having parents of such children vaccinated doesn’t necessarily protect those children from getting the virus from an immunized parent. This is because it is not yet known how the currently available vaccines affect the transmissibility of the virus.

However, Zink did say some caregivers offering in-home care may qualify for vaccination now.

“If you are a caregiver who is providing direct care, even in a home setting, and you cannot postpone your care and you cannot do telehealth — so PCAs and direct personal care assistants — those are under tier 3 phase one A, so there are some home caregivers who right now meet criteria,” Zink said.

Phases and tiers refer to who’s eligible when according to the state’s vaccination plan. More information on phases and tiers, and who’s eligible now and who will become eligible next is available on the State of Alaska Vaccine Eligibility web page.

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