Critter Corner: Caregivers May be Eligible for COVID Vaccine

Hayek 1Dear Hayek,

I am a caregiver for my mother and my two special needs children (one has an intellectual disability and the other has autism). In my role, I feel it is really important to get the COVID vaccine. Is there any way to get myself on a list to be prioritized for the vaccine?

Thanks so much for your help!

Priya Rittie

Dear Priya,

There is a program that can help caregivers in your situation! The ENDependence Center of Northern Virginia (ECNV) has re-opened their vaccine project to ensure that caregivers of people with disabilities get the COVID-19 vaccine.

The program is for direct caregivers (home health aides, personal care attendants, etc.) and/or primary caregivers for those with a severe chronic condition or disability, including an individual with an intellectual or developmental disability requiring a high level of daily care.

If you fit into this category, you are considered a frontline health care worker and are in the first priority group (known as Phase 1a) for Covid-19 vaccinations.

ECNV asks all those who apply to answer the following questions with yes or no answers:

You have not been registered by your employer;
You registered as a caregiver weeks ago and have heard nothing back;
You are a consumer-directed caregiver through a Medicaid Waiver program;
You are paid directly by an individual or family member;
You are an unpaid caregiver for a person with a severe chronic condition or individual with an intellectual or developmental disability requiring a high level of daily care.

Answering the questions will ensure you are entered in the vaccination appointment system if you provide care in the City of Alexandria, Fairfax County or Arlington County, VA. ECNV states that you should expect an email within one week that will tell you the next steps to schedule your vaccine appointment.

Click here to access the form.

Vaccines are Becoming More Available to People with Disabilities in Maryland and Washington, DC

Marylanders with intellectual and developmental disabilities have been prioritized to receive COVID-19 immunizations in the current phase of the state’s rollout, a major victory for the community of advocates, caregivers, educators and those they serve. Check out these 5 tips for getting a COVID vaccine appointment from the ‘Maryland Vaccine Hunters’ group.

DC will also open up vaccine access on March 1 to residents ages 16 to 64 who have certain qualifying medical conditions, including intellectual and developmental disabilities, according to NPR. Read more here.

What is the ENDependence Center of Northern Virginia (ECNV)?

ECNV is a community resource and advocacy center run by and for persons with disabilities.

ECNV’s mission is to end dependence by empowering people with disabilities to live independently. It is a cross-disability organization that works with people of all ages who have every type of disability.

Founded in 1982, ECNV is one of 15 Centers for Independent Living (CILs) in Virginia. There are over 400 CILs nationwide. ECNV serves persons with disabilities, and their caregivers, living in Arlington, Fairfax, and Loudoun Counties and the Cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, and Falls Church. Most of their services are provided at no cost.

ECNV provides the five core services of every CIL:

Information and Referral
Independent Living Skills Training
Peer Mentoring

Visit for more details on their offerings for people with disabilities and their families!

Hope this helps. Stay well!


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About Renee Eder

Renee Eder is the Director of Public Relations for the Farr Law Firm, and gives the voice to the Critters of Critter Corner. Renee’s poodle, Penny, is an official comfort dog who she and her children bring to visit with seniors who are in the early stages of dementia at a local senior home once a month.

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