Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has announced a partnership with Pennsylvania-based Rite Aid Pharmacy to ease access to COVID-19 vaccinations for people with intellectual disabilities and autism. Beginning May 4, people with an intellectual disability, autism, and their caregivers will be able to call a hotline managed by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services’ (DHS) Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) to request a COVID-19 vaccine, and callers will receive direct outreach from a nearby Rite Aid Pharmacy to schedule their vaccine appointment.
People with an intellectual disability or autism and their caregivers can call ODP Vaccination Call Center at 1-800-424-4345 to request a COVID-19 vaccine appointment for themselves and/or their caregivers. This hotline is staffed from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. From there, ODP will give Rite Aid names and locations of individuals who need to be vaccinated. Rite Aid staff will assign local pharmacies to reach out to callers to schedule vaccinations at a Rite Aid location near to the caller. This effort will also be able to help coordinate special accommodations for individuals who need assistance with transportation or on-site aid, among other needs.
Anyone age 16 or older with an intellectual disability or autism and their caregivers can request a vaccine appointment through this effort, regardless of whether they are currently enrolled in a services and supports program through ODP. ODP oversees services and supports for approximately 57,000 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities across Pennsylvania but estimates that this only covers about 25 percent of Pennsylvanians who may qualify as having an intellectual or developmental disability. ODP is working with Pennsylvania’s Developmental Disabilities Council, Temple University’s Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, the Special Olympics, and Aging and Disability Resource Centers to help people with disabilities and their caregivers know about this option and assist with accommodations.
“As we continue to work to ensure that all Pennsylvanians who want a vaccine are able to get them, this collaborative approach between ODP and Rite Aid will allow us to ease this process for people with intellectual disabilities and autism and help us keep them and their caregivers safe moving forward,” said DHS Acting Secretary Meg Snead. “Rite Aid has been an incredible partner in helping us reach vulnerable people in our licensed facilities and community settings, and I am incredibly grateful for their continued work to ensure that we are getting these life-saving vaccines out efficiently and equitably.”
Since December 2020, more than 8 million Pennsylvanians have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. More than 3.2 million Pennsylvanians are fully vaccinated. For more information on COVID-19 vaccinations and vaccine providers in your community, visit the Department of Health’s website.
Get more information about vaccines administered to DHS-licensed facilities through the work with Rite Aid and other vaccine providers.