June 1, 2021
As part of DHHS’ commitment to equity and inclusion in Maine’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts the DHHS Office of Aging and Disability Services (OADS) is supporting drive-up vaccination clinics that prioritize access and provide additional supports for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) – as well as caretakers, family members, and the local community. To date, OADS has supported six adult IDD vaccine clinics statewide, from Westbrook to Caribou, where more than 250 Mainers have been vaccinated. The next clinic is scheduled for Friday, June 4 in Brunswick.
In early April, OADS staff began working with Maine CDC’s vaccine coordinator to develop and distribute a survey to agencies that serve adults with IDD, asking if they would be willing to host vaccine clinics for individuals with IDD and their families and caregivers in their communities. At the same time, OADS staff also solicited feedback from families about accessibility needs and how best to meet those needs.
Based on the feedback, drive-up clinics were determined to be most appropriate. Allowing individuals to stay in their vehicles not only satisfies mobility concerns, but provides contact with familiar family members and caretakers, as well as agency staff, who can provide extra support to adults with IDD during the vaccination process.
Once an agency signed up to hold a clinic, the Maine CDC vaccine coordinator paired them with a member of our team of vaccinators. OADS staff coordinated logistics with partner agencies and maintained staffing schedules for each of the clinics, while the Maine Community Vaccination Line fielded questions and scheduled appointments.
Logistics and support was provided by staff and volunteers from partner agencies – OHI and Penobscot Bay Health Care in Bangor, Living Innovations and St Johns Valley Pharmacy in Caribou, Woodfords Family Services and Community Pharmacies in Westbrook, PLS/STRIVE and Northern Light Health in South Portland, John F. Murphy Homes and Bedard Pharmacy in Auburn, and Independence Association and Guardian Pharmacy in Brunswick. Disability Rights Maine also provided agencies with some additional resources to support these clinics.
In addition to the drive-up clinics, OADS previously supported community partner agencies in holding successful vaccine clinics for their staff and residents at group homes. OADS staff have also been instrumental in DHHS’ efforts to vaccinate homebound individuals.
The next specialized vaccine clinic for adults with IDD on June 4 in Brunswick will be hosted by Independence Association and Guardian Pharmacy. Scheduling an appointment is preferred but not necessary and they can be scheduled in advance by calling the Maine Community Vaccination Line at 1-888-445-4111 /711 for the Maine Relay. Those planning to attend this clinic can also preregister using the online registration form.