On Dec. 31, 2020, the Indiana Department of Health sent a letter to ADEC and other healthcare and service providers in Indiana, informing them that they are now eligible to receive the vaccine. Eligibility requirements also include organizations who are “regularly providing in-person direct care … to individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities in the person’s home or in a congregate setting.”

According to The Arc of Indiana, “To our understanding, Indiana is the only state in the country that has prioritized DSPs, who work every day to serve people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), to receive the vaccine.” Throughout the pandemic, this has not always been the case. DSPs are essential in caring for people with I/DD and it is important that work is being by giving them phase A-1 access to the vaccine.

Hannah Carlock, public policy director at The Arc of Indiana, is a member of the Indiana COVID-19 Vaccination Allocation Task Force, which made the recommendation to include DSPs in the priority group. The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, the Division of Disability and Rehabilitative Services, Indiana State Department of Health and Indiana Association of Rehabilitation Facilities (INARF) also held active leadership roles as part of the task force.

ADEC President and CEO Donna Belusar is grateful that this is being offered to ADEC employees. “This opportunity means our staff has the option to receive the vaccine so they can protect themselves and those around them, while continuing to care for our clients,” said Belusar. “We are thankful that the state recognizes us as essential so we can continue to help individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities live a life of informed choice and possibility in Elkhart and St. Joseph counties.”

ADEC employees have already begun receiving their vaccinations.