Advocates want Coloradans with intellectual, developmental disabilities to be vaccinated sooner


Some advocates are pushing for Coloradans with intellectual and developmental disabilities to be moved up on the state’s vaccine priority list.

Lloyd Lewis, president and CEO of Arc Thrift Stores, which employs Coloradans with IDD, wants them moved up to group 1B.3.

“The overwhelming majority of people with IDD won’t be eligible until Phase 3,” said Lewis.

Phase 3, the final phase, is open to the general public.

Currently the 1B.3 vaccination group includes only disabled individuals who are unable to wear a mask, or those who have two qualifying conditions. Down syndrome is one of those conditions.

Lewis said that means more than a million Coloradans are prioritized higher than around 20,000 individuals with IDD.

Lewis and his son Kennedy are featured in a new PSA, which will air in place of Arc Thrift Store ads, to raise awareness of the concerns for people with IDD. Studies have shown individuals with IDD may have a three times higher risk of death from COVID-19.

Arc Thrift Stores was able to bring back their employees with IDD last summer with strict protocols.

“In our stores, we are managing social distancing, we require masks, we have them on restricted hours, but outside of our stores, with people coming in and of their homes to support them, I worry about them contracting COVID,” said Lewis.

The Colorado Developmental Disabilities Council has also created an “action alert” pushing for individuals with IDD to be moved up on the vaccine priority list.