Homeless, incarcerated among ‘losers’ in race for vaccine in California

26 February 2021

When the California Department of Public Health released its complicated priority system to guide the state’s coronavirus vaccination efforts in December, people with disabilities and underlying risk factors had their place in Phase 1B, Tier 2. They weren’t at the top. But they were on the list.

Then suddenly, on Jan. 25, they weren’t. On Feb. 12, they were back, reinstated by the state after more than two weeks of public outcry. Those with underlying conditions that make them especially susceptible to COVID-19 will become eligible statewide on March 15.

HolLynn D’Lil, who lives in Graton, moves about in a wheelchair and has spent much of her life fighting for disability rights. She has followed each twist and turn in the saga. The feeling she is left with, she said, is anger.

“Why do we have to continually fight, I mean literally go to battle with officials to be recognized as people?” D’Lil asked. “Why such an extraordinary effort on our behalf just to be included and considered? It seems prejudice against people with disabilities is deeply ingrained.”

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