Incapacity Rights CT recordsdata federal grievance over age-based vaccine rollout

In the first formal challenge to Governor Ned Lamont’s age-based vaccine distribution plan, Disability Rights Connecticut filed a complaint with the U.S. Civil Rights Office against the state and the governor for “discriminating against people with disabilities” by not giving them a priority over the general Population.

The complaint, filed on Wednesday, calls on the agency, part of the US Department of Health, to “immediately and promptly investigate and publish the results” that Connecticut’s age-based policy on vaccinating citizens “reveals this week constitutes disability discrimination ”, which violates federal law.

[Breaking with national recommendations, Lamont says Connecticut’s vaccine rollout will now be prioritized by age]

The advocacy complaint also called on the federal agency to instruct Connecticut to “immediately revise” its vaccination policy to include prioritizing people with illnesses regardless of age and notifying the state that a process for people with disabilities is required for a change maintain its vaccination policy.

The administration declined to comment on the complaint.

The six-page complaint alleges that the rollout violates the Disabled Americans Act by, among other things, establishing eligibility criteria for the vaccine, which “discriminates against and unfairly incriminates people with disabilities.” Ultimately, it accuses the state of “perpetuating discrimination against people with disabilities”.

Lamont said Monday he was shifting the state’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution program to a strictly age-based program for everyone other than school workers and childcare workers, leaving many younger people with chronic conditions feeling left behind. Under the previous plan, it was the turn of those aged 16 and over with certain chronic conditions to receive the vaccine.

The complaint states that the new policy does not provide for exceptions for qualified persons with disabilities.

[People with disabilities were next in line for COVID vaccine. Then the plan changed.]

“Connecticut has adopted this policy despite the fact that people with disabilities are known to be disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and are more likely to become infected with the virus and suffer from severe, often life-threatening and protracted systems,” the complaint said.

As part of the age-dependent rollout, people between 55 and 64 years of age can be vaccinated on March 1st. People between the ages of 45 and 64 can be vaccinated on March 22nd. People aged 35 to 44 can be vaccinated from April 12th. 16 to 34 years old are eligible on May 3rd.

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