Arizona Legislators Urge Vaccine Prioritization For People With A Disability

PHOENIX – A group of Arizona legislators penned a letter to Governor Doug Ducey urging him to make people in the Arizona Long Term Care System a priority when it comes to to receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

In the letter, the group of lawmakers came together in bipartisan fashion to praise Ducey and his team for their “demonstrated a willingness to learn and adapt during the vaccine distribution process.”

Dear Governor Ducey,

We want to start by thanking you for your leadership in getting the COVID-19 vaccine in the arms of Arizonans. While it has not been perfect, your team has demonstrated a willingness to learn and adapt during the vaccine distribution process to ensure Arizonans are vaccinated as quickly as possible. In fact, news reports recently stated that Arizona’s vaccine distribution grade went from a “C” last month to an “A” this month according to a report card by Harvard researchers. Under your leadership and in conjunction with our county partners, 1,442,915 Arizonans have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 828,315 Arizonans have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Unfortunately, it has come to our attention that a recent change to the vaccine prioritization has resulted in further delaying one of the most vulnerable populations from receiving the vaccine. Now that the prioritization approach determines eligibility based on age or essential worker status, those who are part of the Arizona Long Term Care System (ALTCS) that reside at home who may not be eligible based on their age are forced to the end of the line. Considering these individuals are at a higher risk of contracting and getting sick from COVID-19, we respectfully ask you to consider strategies to get these individuals vaccinated as quickly as possible so they can resume their lives and reinstate social connectedness without fear of contracting the virus. These people, as we feel you understand have a high need for person to person contact as in one of your executive orders maintained that public school districts had to maintain an onsite educational opportunity for these individuals during the pandemic.

We understand there have been many challenges throughout this public health emergency, and yet you have demonstrated compassion for the most vulnerable. We also understand this issue is likely an oversight that can be easily addressed. This group of individuals were scheduled for 1C in vaccinations and right before there opportunity the change in eligibility by age moved them to the bottom. We ask you to please consider our request to address this and let us know how we can be of any assistance in doing so.

Respectfully,
Representative David Cook, Legislative District 8
Representative Brenda Barton, Legislative District 6
Representative Kevin Payne, Legislative District 21
Representative Mark Finchem, Legislative District 11
Representative Joel John, Representative, District 4
Representative Beverly Pingerelli, Legislative District 21
Representative Cesar Chavez, Legislative District 29
Representative Domingo DeGrazia, Legislative District 10
Representative Jennifer Longdon, Legislative District 24
Representative Quang Nguyen, Legislative District 1
Representative Justin Wilmeth, Legislative District 15
Representative Amish Shah, Legislative District 24
Representative Diego Rodriguez, Legislative District 27