COVID-19 Update
March 1, 2021

Recent Media Coverage 
The Arc New York CEO Erik Geizer was interviewed by Nick Reisman for Capital Tonight regarding proposed cuts, the impact of COVID-19, and the advocacy underway by The Arc New York and New York Disability Advocates (NYDA) to sustain services and supports for New Yorkers with I/DD. A transcript of the interview can be found here. We are awaiting a recording and will share when available. 

Schenectady ARC Executive Director Kirk Lewis and NYDA President Tom McAlvanah spoke with the Times Union for a story exploring the impact of cuts on voluntary providers, and Susan Constantino, President and CEO of the Cerebral Palsy Associations of New York State and spokesperson for NYDA was interviewed for a segment on Capitol Pressroom

FDA Approves Janssen Vaccine
On Saturday, The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Janssen's (a division of Johnson & Johnson) request for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) of the Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine. As with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, the FDA developed a fact sheet for recipients and caregivers. The vaccine-specific fact sheet must accompany the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) informed consent form.

The Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine is authorized for use in individuals 18 years of age and older. It is administered as a single dose. As with the other authorized COVID-19 vaccines, the duration of protection is currently unknown. Unpunctured vials of the Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine can be stored at much higher temperatures than the other COVID-19 vaccines (36 to 46 degrees F), and for a period of up to 3 months. The possible adverse reactions are the same as the other vaccines, including headache, fatigue and nausea. 

Supply of the Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine may be limited in the early stages of distribution, as Johnson & Johnson announced that they would ship approximately 4 million doses after issuance of the EUA. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) expects that initial doses will be divided among states, community vaccine centers, federally qualified health centers and retail pharmacies. 

Today, Governor Cuomo announced that approximately 164,800 doses of the Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine will be distributed to New York state sometime this week.

We will provide additional updates on this new vaccine and distribution plans as they become available. 

Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Dashboard
Johns Hopkins University and the Center for Dignity in Health Care for People with Disabilities created a vaccine distribution dashboard that focuses on how each state is prioritizing the disability community.
 
The vaccine prioritization data includes categories for the populations of people living in: long-term care settings, other congregate settings, including group homes; people with chronic conditions, and "other disability-related groups, which includes people receiving direct support care in the community, people with I/DD, and recipients of certain Medicaid programs. The tool is an easy way to quickly view how each population is prioritized by state. 
 
Only fifteen states (30%), including New York, prioritized people with disabilities living in group homes within the first tier of phase 1A in their vaccination distribution plans. Several states continue to lack a plan for people with disabilities, or are prioritizing the population in much later phases of their plans. New York's inclusion of this population is a success of our statewide advocacy efforts, which were informed by our ongoing COVID-19 data collection.  

Tyler Perry Special - COVID-19 Vaccine and the Black Community
Tyler Perry produced a 30-minute video, in which he explains his own vaccine hesitancy, interviews two physicians, and ultimately receives the vaccine at the end of the video. Chapters may find it to be a helpful resource in reaching communities of color. You can view the full video here
 
This and all related updates will be cataloged on The Arc New York COVID-19 Resource Page for future reference. Please contact us if you have questions regarding any of this information. 

 
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Josh Christiana, Director for Quality, Compliance & Chapter Relations

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