AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Next week will kick off the second week of Ohio’s Phase 1B vaccine distribution. Included in that group are people 16 and over with severe congenital or developmental disorders.
The end is in sight for people in the next group of Phase 1B.
“It’s really been difficult for individuals with disabilities… the isolation,” said Michele Jones, president of the Down Syndrome Association of the Valley.
Included in this group that can be vaccinated in Ohio starting Jan. 25 are kids ages 16 and over with Down syndrome. This is the only group in Phase 1B that does not require you to be at least 65 years old or a K-12 teacher.
“So we really… as Down syndrome organizations across the state, as Down syndrome organizations across the country, we worked with national organizations and the CDC to get the guidelines included for those individuals that might not have a voice, for those individuals with disabilities,” Jones said.
“They haven’t been to a store since last March. You’re talking store, restaurant, anything like that. They’ve been troopers, let me tell you that they’ve been really troopers about it,” said Sandee Timmerman, of Austintown, the mother of a child with Down syndrome.
And for these parents, isolation isn’t their only worry when it comes to COVID-19.
“Mostly all the Down syndrome children have another disability or another underlying medical problem. So it’s really important that they get the vaccine as soon as they possibly can,” Timmerman said.
This group of Phase 1B also includes people with other early onset medical disorders like cerebral palsy, spina bifida, congenital heart disease and type 1 diabetes.
“It’s really just to get us back into life. We really… we’re looking forward to a day where we can meet again,” Jones said.
“I’d like to see some normality back in their lives and for them to be safe,” Timmerman said.
Timmerman says she’s optimistic that this will be the first step in getting them back to that normalcy.