Kennedy Krieger Institute Hosted Special Vaccine Clinics for People with Disabilities

July 7, 2021

Kennedy Krieger Institute recently partnered with Johns Hopkins Medicine to offer a series of free, drive-through vaccine clinics for people with disabilities. The clinics were held at the Baltimore-based Institute.

More than 100 volunteers helped to plan and carryout the well-attended clinics, which were designed especially for individuals with intellectual disabilities, serious mental health disorders, behavioral disorders and those with complex medical conditions. Volunteers administered 580 shots.

"We tried to think of everything that our patients and students would need to feel comfortable enough to come and get a vaccine," said Stacey Herman, the Institute's Director of Neurodiversity and Community Workforce Development, and one of the clinic's organizers.

That included having behavioral support staff and members of Kennedy Krieger's child life team assisting on-site to calm those with vaccination worries. The drive-through clinic also offered a sensory-friendly environment with minimal signs and sounds for those who are sensitive to noise and lights. Additionally, Spanish and American Sign Language communications and translation services were available.

"We were so pleased with the turnout and the feedback that we received from our patient families," Herman said. "Many parents shared with us that because of their children's behavioral needs or specific medical concerns, they could not take them to another clinic. And yet, getting the vaccine was very important to their family. We work with the disability community every day and knew we wanted to do our part to meet this need. It was a great effort by so many, but we were so glad to be able to make these clinics happen."