Alexander Grant, an MSc Graduate Student in the lab of Dr. Maziar Divangahi, speaks out about the confusion over the COVID-19 vaccine priority list for people with an intellectual handicap. Grant was interviewed by Global News last week, and is bringing attention to this issue as it affects him personally: his twin brother Jonathan is autistic and prior to Grant’s taking action, was not considered a priority for a vaccine.
The Quebec government website is said to be very confusing, prioritizing only certain disabilities, and the disabled living in specific environments, to receive a COVID-19 vaccine before the general population. Regardless of the information on the website, some regional health authorities in Montreal are ignoring the government’s priority list and are more freely vaccinating people with disabilities.
When Julius Grey, a McGill Laureate and well-known human rights lawyer in Montreal, was approached by Grant and other families in the same predicament, a letter was sent to the government advising them of the intention to sue on behalf of these families. It was only at this point that the CIUSS telephoned Grant and confirmed his brother could have the vaccine. His brother is indeed fortunate to have someone to advocate on his behalf. Not everyone does.
Added to the daily stress of living with a disability, Jonathan and his family have been living with the stress of knowing how catching the virus and being required to live in complete isolation would complicate Jonathan’s life immensely, as it would many people with disabilities who require daily assistance. Fortunately, some municipalities are now offering a vaccine to these individuals, who should most certainly have been included on the priority list since the beginning.
Listen to the interview with Amanda Jelowicki here:
Read articles here:
- Confusion exists over COVID-19 vaccine priority in Quebec and people with disabilities, Global News, Amanda Jelowicki, April 16, 2021
- Julius Grey fights for vaccine rights for those with intellectual disabilities, The Suburban, Beryl Wajsman, April 16, 2021