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Caregivers for Iowans with disabilities frustrated with lack of vaccine availability

“Getting an appointment is like winning the lottery," caregiver Mardi Deluher said.

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowans with disabilities and their caregivers who live in group settings can get the vaccine as part of the state's Phase 1B, Tier 2 plan starting Monday.

Mardi Deluhery is the caregiver to Rose, her 41-year-old daughter with autism and Down syndrome.

“Getting an appointment is like winning the lottery," Deluher said.

Rose goes to a day program at Link Associates, which has had numerous COVID-19 outbreaks.

NOTE: Certain underlying health conditions are included in the current list of eligible Iowans to get the vaccine

Linda Dunshee, the executive director at Link Associates, said Hy-Vee was scheduled to have a vaccination clinic with them. However, Hy-Vee said they were unable to hold the clinic due to county guidelines stating the group didn't qualify at the time. 

Hy-Vee told Local 5 they are still in active discussions with Link Associates to set up clinics for their patients. 

“This population has been marginalized. And do I dare say discriminated against," said Maria Walker, a staff member with Polk County Health Services.

A big population of those with disabilities are homebound.

With vaccine appointments only scheduled online, many don't have the capability of making an appointment.

A team has been put together in Polk County, to help advocate for folks with disabilities.

"Our case managers are getting information to them about helping them to get signed up and arranging for that transportation," Walker explained.

Below is a list of 35 organizations with resources for Iowans with disabilities

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