PHOENIX — While millions are currently eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine in Arizona, another group feels like they're being left behind and without hope.
“Right now, they’re being ignored,” said Valley mother Lisa Jasper.
Jasper is talking about her daughter Kelly. She suffers from Turner syndrome, a condition that can lead to a plethora underlying health issues and disabilities.
“So, it’s super important that Kelly doesn’t get an infection, let alone COVID-19,” said Jasper.
A battle with the flu last year landed the 26-year-old in the hospital. Kelly has spent her life advocating for people with disabilities, while pushing her own limits to make a difference for others.
“Kelly is just representative of thousands, there are thousands of people cared for by their families, but the vaccine isn’t reaching them,” said Jasper.
After being passed over when the state shifted its vaccination plan, Kelly is now competing with the rest of the general population to land a coveted shot. State leaders however say they’ll be doing more to make sure she and those like her get it quickly.
“We’ll be working directly with our partners at DES and with some of our advocacy groups in the community to schedule vaccination events specifically for them or potentially reaching through their health plans to get them vaccinated,” said State Health Director Dr. Cara Christ during a press conference Monday.
Dr. Christ says the age-based system allows state pods to vaccinate entire families with a single visit using the plus one option, depending on supply.
“What it will give us the ability to do is the ability to vaccinate entire families at the same time,” said Dr. Christ.
Running in both English and Spanish, newly made public service announcements will soon be seen on TV and online. They aim to address vaccine hesitancy in our most underserved communities.
These PSAs are part of a final push to get a majority of our state the shot by summer. As for Kelly, her mom says she will do whatever it takes to get her protected, but believes others may still face difficult odds.
“We’ll pile in that car and get down there, but what about people that can’t, what about the people that are homebound that can’t,” said Jasper.