After seeing the need and struggle for people with disabilities to get access to the COVID-19 vaccine, Disability Rights Florida is on a mission to get individuals with disabilities, the elderly, family members and caregivers vaccinated — especially in rural communities.
DRF is a nonprofit organization that provides legal advocacy and rights protection for adults and children with a wide range of disabilities. The organization encourages vaccinations for older adults and people with disabilities through education, connection to available services and removing barriers to accessible vaccines.
Robin Krocher, a spokesman for DRF, said the biggest part of this program is that people don’t have to wait for a vaccine site to get help from the organization.
“We have the opportunity to do several things that include assisting with scheduling appointments and finding locations,” Krocher said. “We help facilitate transportation for the community. Also, we provide general education about how vaccines affect people with disabilities.”
DRF believes that people with disabilities should have the opportunity to freely get vaccinated without having to be uncomfortable. Even in a crisis, people with disabilities have the right to live, work, learn and access their community without discrimination, according to https://disabilityrightsflorida.org.
Paula Roberts, with DRF, said the organization is doing everything it can to ensure that people who want to get vaccinated have a great and safe experience.
“We want everyone who comes through us to feel safe at all times at all times,” said Roberts. “We know how challenging this can be for many people and the last thing we would want to do is make anyone uncomfortable.”
Joseph Daniels, a Leon County resident, said although he was unsure about the vaccine at first, his experience with Disability Rights Florida was satisfying and memorable.
“My experience with this organization was memorable, the people were nice and welcoming, and I felt at home.”
If you or someone you know plans on getting vaccinated with DRF, here’s what to expect, In-person American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters, helpful staff and volunteers to accommodate all disabilities, Vaccination administered by Leon County Health Department, proof of disability is not needed, and choice of two or one doses of vaccine options.
Although there has not been another set day for when there will be another vaccine clinic in Leon County, the DRF said it will continue to travel throughout Florida to assist those in need.