Vaccine eligibility question
March 22, 2021 5:33 AM   Subscribe

I am trying to figure out the honest answer to this "do I qualify for the vaccine" question.

I am in California. One of the "do I qualify" questions is #3 below:

"Do you currently have a physical or mental disability that is so severe and high-risk that one of the following applies: 1) a COVID-19 infection is likely to result in severe, life-threatening illness or death; OR 2) acquiring COVID-19 will limit your ability to receive ongoing care or services vital to your well-being and survival; OR 3) providing adequate and timely COVID care will be particularly challenging as a result of your disability?"

I am neurodivergent with poor executive function skills. I do not call myself disabled because, among other reasons, I want the privilege of passing, and I can pass. I think that people who know me would assume I do not qualify.

However, I was looking at question #3 and remembering when I had what I thought was a mild case of covid, that I had read that there's a medication you can take in the early stages. But I didn't do anything about it. I didn't look into it at all. I just kept quarantining, crossed my fingers, and hoped being in the 16-49 age group with no major pre-existing conditions would be enough, and it was. I am not confident that I would make sure I got adequate and timely COVID care. I might. I might not.

On one hand, I think this may meet the letter of the question. I even think it may meet the spirit of the question. But I'm not sure. Can you please give me some more specific questions to help me decide?

Please only answer this question if you have professional experience.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Hi, the best person to answer this question is your physician or psychiatrist. Depending on where you are in California your county may have different levels of availability (for example, I was able to get everyone at my workplace vaccinated in Northern California by March regardless of eligibility tier; Los Angeles County has been much more restrictive).

If you’re able to reach out to the moderators and tell them what county you’re in it would help us respond more appropriately. One thing I’d want you to be ready for - if you do go, you may be asked to justify yourself. This is not something you should need to do, but I’ve heard anecdotally that some sites are asking for “evidence” of disability (e.g. Long Beach was asking for disabled vehicle placards for a few days). That said, this can be a place where your physician can advocate for you - another example of evidence provided has been a doctor’s note stating you are disabled.
posted by arnicae at 5:48 AM on March 22 [2 favorites]

Hmm, obviously it could be interpreted many ways but I would have interpreted "3" as more like, "My disability makes it hard for me to leave the house, take medications, and/or use the phone to call for help." More like, "I can't get a remdesivir or convalescent plasma infusion because I have severe vein problems" than "I am not 100% on top of my healthcare situation and might not ask my doctor about remdesivir or convalescent plasma treatments."

(Oh sorry I just saw you are only interested in professional experience - in which case you really ought to call your physician or someone involved in your county's vaccine rollout.)
posted by mskyle at 6:07 AM on March 22 [7 favorites]

From - you can call (833) 844-4255 to schedule an appointment, just ask if you qualify.
posted by foodgeek at 7:00 AM on March 22 [2 favorites]

I have been encouraging clients with cognitive disabilities to ask their doctors for a note confirming eligibility, because even if they are able to function independently day-to-day, many of them would likely not be able to access treatment due to executive functioning issues. Questions to ask yourself/your doctor:

1) Will I know when it's time to call 911 vs wait it out at home?
2) If I am very sick and very weak, will I be able to coordinate feeding, cleaning, and hydrating myself? Will I remember to take any needed medication?
3) If I am hospitalized, will I be able to advocate for myself, ask for treatments, and accurately report my symptoms to medical staff?
4) If I am unconscious, is there a a diagnosis in my medical record that would bias a medical professional to think I am less likely to survive, or have a lower quality of life, than another person who is equally sick, making me lower priority if treatment resources become scarce?
To me, answering yes to those means answering yes to both the letter and spirit of #3 and I would consider that person to be eligible.
posted by assenav at 8:47 AM on March 22 [10 favorites]

Nth just ask your doctor. If she wants you to get the shot she can give you a note.
posted by fingersandtoes at 11:18 AM on March 22 [1 favorite]

In case it's relevant to you or someone else who may find this Ask, here's the updated information from the CA Department of Health Care Services advising behavioral health providers on who they should recommend for vaccination under the high risk criteria.
posted by assenav at 8:06 AM on March 23

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