Frontline Initiative: DSPs Respond to COVID-19
At Least I am Making People Think about It
Being vaccinated is very important to me, I think it is the responsible thing to do. I want to be protected from getting the virus and I also care about other people. I never know when I might run into a person who hasn’t gotten the shot and I do not want to pass the virus on to them. I would feel real bad if that person got sick with COVID-19. Being vaccinated keeps everyone safe.
The other day, I went to my neighborhood pharmacy to get my COVID-19 booster shot. I have pre-existing conditions of diabetes and high blood pressure so I know I am in a high risk group for getting COVID-19. I have several friends who have already gotten their booster shot. The pharmacist tried to tell me I could not get the shot and I needed to advocate for myself, I asked “Why am I different from others who are getting the booster?”
Last year, a self-advocate who worked for the Governor's Office of Disability Affairs in Louisiana got the COVID-19 virus. It was before a vaccine was available, even though she wore a mask she somehow contracted it. She had heart disease and diabetes and she died from COVID-19. I am a sensitive person and news like this makes me feel terrible!
It troubles me when I think about the DSPs who are not being vaccinated.
It troubles me when I think about the DSPs who are not being vaccinated; they work with people who are at high risk for getting COVID-19. I think about my father who is in his mid-80s, that’s the same age as some of the parents of the people DSPs are helping at home. If a parent gets COVID-19 and goes into the hospital, what happens to the person with disabilities? What happens if the parent dies? It means the person with disabilities could end up going to a group home or even an institution. These things could happen easily if DSPs are not careful and do not get the COVID-19 vaccine.
I feel frustrated with people who are not getting vaccinated. This should not be about politics or one party over another, it's about people’s wellbeing. We need to take care of each other. I talk with my Republican friends who do not want to get vaccinated about how I feel. I want to educate them, this is not fake news! I want to be respectful of them and their choices, but it makes me frustrated when I cannot convince them that getting vaccinated is the right thing to do. At least I am making people think about it.
This article is reprinted with permission from Self-Advocacy Online.