Young people with high-risk conditions got some good news on Monday. The new timeline means they could be eligible for the vaccine a month sooner. But it’s bittersweet because many had hoped high-risk individuals would get the vaccine even sooner.
For the last year Megan Lanyon and her older sister, who is also her best friend, have had to keep their distance. Megan has Down Syndrome, which puts her at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Her mom, Lorraine, says they can’t be careful enough.
“We have been having interactions at a six-foot distance, masked for a year. That is the way she sees her sister once a week,” said Lorraine Lanyon.
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Originally, people considered high-risk were scheduled to get the vaccine in the state much earlier. Then age became the deciding factor which pushed the 23-year-old’s eligibility into May. Monday’s change now moves her up to early April.
“It’ll enable her and her sister to hug each other, which hasn’t happened for a year,” said Lanyon.
It’ll also allow Megan to socialize and take part in enrichment and learning in-person again, something that has been a challenge to do from home.
“Not only are they not able to get the vaccine, they can’t go anywhere,” said Shanon McCormick, Down Syndrome Association of Connecticut’s executive director.
McCormick says it’s been a difficult year for families. Her son, Sean Martin, has Down Syndrome, and he normally works five days a week. But his constant contact with the public put him at risk, so since November, he’s been home.
“But it’s hard. It’s really hard for him, and he keeps looking at the calendar and saying, ‘This will be over soon, right? This won’t be too much longer, right?’” said McCormick.
While McCormick says while she and other families wish high-risk individuals had been given more priority, she hopes the April date means getting an appointment in April and not a month or two out.
“There is light at the end of the tunnel, and the light has gotten a little bit brighter for sure,” said McCormick.
Governor Lamont has asked those who are relatively healthy and who may telecommute to work to maybe not sign up in the first few days when eligibility opens up. He says that’ll allow those who are more at risk to get an appointment a little sooner.