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Decision-making on Vaccines

Though The Arc cannot provide you with a definitive answer to the question, we can provide you with the tools you need to make the best decision possible for yourself or the person in your life with I/DD.

This page has a robust section of links to information about the vaccine itself which can be easily accessed by scrolling below this article. Though The Arc cannot provide you with a definitive answer to the question, we can provide you with the tools you need to make the best decision possible for yourself or the person in your life with I/DD.

How do I make a decision about whether or not to proceed with vaccination? Here’s a quick checklist of steps to take to support your decision making:

  • Talk to your healthcare provider and any specialists to get their medical opinion on whether or not vaccination is right for you or someone you love
  • If the vaccine is for someone other than yourself, as that person how they feel about being vaccinated and facilitate getting answers to their questions
  • Understand and weigh the personal physical health risks of getting the vaccine (including allergies) vs. not getting the vaccine and possibly contracting COVID
  • Understand and weigh the personal mental health risks of getting the vaccine vs. not getting the vaccine and possibly contracting COVID
  • Consider a person’s ability to take effective, precautionary measures against COVID (frequent hand washing, masking, distancing, etc.)
  • Learn about the possible side effects of the vaccine and how they can be treated
  • Discuss what vaccination might mean for daily activities.  Check with program staff to understand this better in your specific context.

If you decide to get the vaccine:

  • Ask your healthcare provider if they know when will the vaccine be available to you or your family member with I/DD
  • Learn where you can get the vaccine, and what it involves
  • Check with your County Public Health Department frequently for updates and sign up to be notified about vaccines if possible
  • Talk with your family and service providers to plan support for getting the vaccine (all required shots) and after care in the event they are feeling yucky for a few days.  You plan should include:
    • where to get the vaccine
    • how to get there
    • who will go with you as support
    • who will support you after you get the vaccine in case you have mild flu like symptoms
  • Monitor for side effects. If you have symptoms after the vaccine call your doctor.  You can help others by reporting them to CDC Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) https://vaers.hhs.gov/reportevent.html
  • Ask your doctor what COVID-19 safety measures you will still need to take after getting your vaccine(s) and for how long

If you decide not to get vaccinated:

  • Make sure you are still taking safety precautions against the transmission of COVID.  This is an excellent resource on what you can do to stay healthy: https://selfadvocacyinfo.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Plain-Language-Information-on-Coronavirus.pdf
    • Wash your hands frequently
    • Keep at least 6 feet from others
    • Avoid touching your face
    • Cover your nose and mouth when you cough, even if you are in your own home
  • Know that you can change your mind and decide to get vaccinated at a later date.  If you do make that decision, contact your health care provider to find out how you should proceed.

Remember, the choice of whether or not to vaccinate belongs to you.  Ask questions, learn, and then make the best informed decision you can! 

COVID-19 Vaccine Information


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