We’ve issued the following statement in regards to COVID-19 vaccine distribution:
At the University of Pittsburgh’s National Center on Family Support, we have been closely following the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic on family caregivers and those for whom they provide care. A report issued by the Center in July highlighted that family caregivers reported more negative effects from the pandemic than their non-caregiver counterparts. Family caregivers were more likely to report taking precautions, experiencing social isolation, dealing with increased anxiety, depression, fatigue, and sleep disturbance, and were facing increased financial hardship and food insecurity.
We appreciate the work that state health departments have done to continually refine their prioritization scheme for COVID vaccine distribution, to ensure that all employees and residents most at risk for the virus are able to get vaccinated. However, few state plans explicitly include unpaid family caregivers in any phase of vaccine distribution.
We at the National Center on Family Support urge states to clarify this, and to include family caregivers in the first phases of vaccination with healthcare workers and other high risk groups. Family caregivers are on the front lines each day, providing necessary care for those at higher risk of COVID. As people 65 years old and above and/or with serious medical conditions are now eligible to receive their vaccination, it’s imperative that their caregivers, whether paid or unpaid, are also able to receive the vaccine to protect themselves and ensure that they are able to continue providing this essential care.
Download this statement if you’d like to share it to spread the message of the importance of including family caregivers in COVID-19 vaccine distribution plans.