COVID-19 Vaccination Resources

Your Guide for Vaccine-related Information

 

We would like to take this opportunity to update you on Achieva’s efforts related to COVID-19 vaccinations. We know there is a lot of information about vaccine eligibility and some of it may be confusing to you. Achieva has received calls from many people it serves and their families asking whether Achieva is able to arrange vaccinations for them. This page is intended to explain in greater detail who is eligible under the state’s priority 1A group as it applies to Achieva’s services and whether Achieva will be able to facilitate access to the vaccine for that group. 

Pennsylvania’s Phase 1A Eligibility:

  • People with disabilities served in Achieva’s licensed community homes and the Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) who work in those licensed community homes.

    • Achieva was selected to participate in the Federal Pharmacy Partnership (FPP) with Walgreens to get the vaccine to these two groups. This resource is explicitly intended for DSPs and people receiving services through licensed community homes at Achieva.

  • DSPs (Achieva employees whose job involves direct, in-person contact with people with disabilities when providing support and not already covered by working in a licensed community home). Achieva has been working to communicate with designated vaccine providers (e.g., UPMC, Excela, Allegheny County Health Department, etc.) about this group of Achieva employees. Appointments are made when the vaccine provider contacts the DSP or vice versa. 

  • Unpaid caregivers. DOH has indicated that “healthcare personnel” includes unpaid caregivers. Those who meet the definition of unpaid caregiver must arrange and schedule an appointment with a vaccine provider to get the vaccine. They will likely be asked to attest that they are indeed a caregiver of a person with a disability or elderly person. 

  • Persons age 65 and older (if you or your loved one is 65 or older, then you are eligible and may contact a vaccine provider to schedule your own appointment).

  • Persons ages 16-64 with high-risk conditions (if you or your loved one has one of the following conditions, then you are eligible and may contact a vaccine provider to schedule your own appointment):

  • Cancer

  • Chronic kidney disease

  • COPD

  • Down syndrome

  • Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies

  • Obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 kg/m2 or higher but < 40 kg/m2)

  • Severe Obesity (BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2)

  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant or from blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids, or use of other immune weakening medicines

  • Pregnancy

  • Sickle cell disease

  • Smoking

  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus

At this point, Achieva does not have the ability to offer or arrange vaccine access to anyone other than people who live in our licensed community homes and DSPs - this means we are unable to arrange vaccinations for people with disabilities who do not live in a licensed community home, family/unpaid caregivers, or Achieva employees who are not DSPs. Achieva will continue to monitor the situation and should such an opportunity for expanded access to the vaccine become available, we will act quickly to take advantage of it. In the meantime, if you or your family member wants to receive the vaccine, we highly recommend that you inform yourself regarding the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine, consult with your primary care physician, and then work to arrange an appointment with a vaccine provider. 

After nearly a year of navigating and responding to the challenges of the pandemic and doing our best to protect everyone in our care, we are hopeful that the vaccine will prove to be the first real step towards finally ending the fear and risk associated with COVID-19. We wish we could offer vaccinations to everyone connected to Achieva, but we simply are not in a position to do so. This is why we are communicating with you and attempting to provide as much information to you as possible so you can inform yourself and exercise as much control over the process as you can. 

 

The following are some resources to assist you in your efforts. 

From the CDC:

Vaccine Information for You and Your Family

 

From the PA Department of Health:

Pennsylvania's COVID-19 Interim Vaccination Plan

Popular Vaccine Topics

 

From the Commonweath of Pennsylvania:

Find a Vaccination Site in Pennsylvania


Additional Resources:

Unpaid Caregivers Eligible for Vaccine

Vaccine Information for Older Adults (PDF) 

AADMD Coronavirus Resource Center

COVID-19 Vaccine Information in Plain Language

A Self-Advocate’s Guide to COVID-19

 

Vaccine information for Individuals Without Internet Access:

Pennsylvania Departments of Health and Human Services would like to share resources surrounding COVID-19 vaccine information for individuals that have limited or no internet access. The following services are available to learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine, including locating a healthcare provider, by phone:

  • If an individual does not have a direct support professional (DSP) that can provide them with the appropriate COVID-19 vaccine and healthcare provider information, they can call the PA Health Hotline at 1-877-724-3258

  • Persevere PA is a COVID-19 crisis hotline designed to link callers with counselors to assist with the mental health impacts of COVID-19. They can also assist a caller in finding a healthcare provider to administer the vaccine when their corresponding phase arrives. Call Persevere PA at 1-855-284-2494

  • When arranging for an individual who is deaf or hard of hearing to receive information via telephone, PA Relay Services are available by dialing 711.

Please share this information with those who may require information by telephone.