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Coronavirus: People with intellectual disabilities included in Saskatchewan vaccine rollout

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus: Age to be determining factor for vaccine priority in phase 2, says Saskatchewan’s health minister' Coronavirus: Age to be determining factor for vaccine priority in phase 2, says Saskatchewan’s health minister
WATCH: Saskatchewan's Health Minister Paul Merriman on Tuesday said age will be the determining factor in Phase 2 of the province's COVID-19 vaccine rollout plan, with those oldest receiving the vaccine first – Feb 9, 2021

After different Saskatchewan organizations called for people with intellectual disabilities to be made a priority for COVID-19 vaccinations, the province announced they will be receiving them soon.

Phase 2 of the COVID-19 vaccination delivery plan will include adults and staff in group homes for people with intellectual disabilities. This phase could begin as early as April, but it could be later if there is a vaccine shortage.

Read more: Saskatchewan rolls out plan for Phase 2 of COVID-19 vaccinations

Saskatchewan Association of Rehabilitation Centres (SARC) executive director Amy McNeil said people with intellectual disabilities sometimes struggle to understand why the world has changed this past year.

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“Often they don’t understand what’s leading to this, so it can be very difficult for an individual to recognize the magnitude of the situation and the pandemic itself,” McNeil said.

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Prior to Monday’s announcement, McNeil was very concerned people with intellectual disabilities weren’t made a priority to receiving vaccines in the province. She explained there are many factors putting people with intellectual disabilities at high risk for contracting COVID-19, including living in group homes.

McNeil also said people with intellectual disabilities are often immunocompromised, making the COVID-19 mortality rate higher than most people without a disability.

She said it’s a relief knowing the vaccinations are in near sight.

“Unfortunately there’s a delay in the vaccine delivery just due to availability, but knowing that the province is putting its vulnerable citizens at the front of phase 2 is really good news,” McNeil said.

SARC will continue to work closely with the ministry of social services as the vaccine rollout continues in Saskatchewan.

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