Last in Line: Vaccine Scarcity and the Americans with Disabilities Act

Jessica R. Gunder, Last in Line: Vaccine Scarcity and the Americans with Disabilities Act, 10 Ind. J.L. & Soc. Equal. 1 (2022).

83 Pages Posted: 23 Sep 2021 Last revised: 11 Feb 2022

Date Written: August 20, 2021

Abstract

The distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine was not perfect, and in some states, it was so inequitable that the most in need of vaccination were sent to the end of the vaccination line. Over the initial months of the vaccine rollout, demand for COVID-19 vaccines exceeded supply. Although the CDC issued data-based guidance for how to prioritize access to the vaccines, it was non-binding, and many states set different priorities.

This Article is the first to study the different prioritizations set by the states. It contends that some states may have violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by deprioritizing individuals with health conditions that made them more likely to experience severe disease or death from COVID-19. This Article proposes several remedies, including simply making adoption of the CDC’s prioritization schedule mandatory upon jurisdictions receiving vaccine allocations from the federal government. The Article’s call for reform remains urgent. It is critical that vaccine distribution inequities be cured by the time booster shots become available to protect Americans, including those with disabilities, from future COVID-19 variants.

The full vaccine distribution schedule for each jurisdiction is available at: http://ssrn.com/abstract=3908231

Note: Funding: The University of Idaho provided funding for a research assistant for this project. No other funding was received from any other source.

Declaration of Interests: None to declare.

Keywords: COVID-19, vaccine, health, rollout, shortage, scarcity, healthcare, schedule, high risk, disability, americans with disabilities act, ada, disability rights

Suggested Citation

Gunder, Jessica, Last in Line: Vaccine Scarcity and the Americans with Disabilities Act (August 20, 2021). Jessica R. Gunder, Last in Line: Vaccine Scarcity and the Americans with Disabilities Act, 10 Ind. J.L. & Soc. Equal. 1 (2022)., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3908302

Jessica Gunder (Contact Author)

University of Idaho College of Law ( email )

PO BOX 83720-0051
Boise, ID 83702
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.uidaho.edu/law/people/faculty/jgunder

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