To stop the spread of COVID-19, DDS held several clinics in March and April to assist people with disabilities in getting vaccinated. More than 70 percent of people supported by our Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) have received at least one dose of the vaccine. Below, a few DDS employees and people we support share their reasons and experiences with taking the shot. And check out a few videos that might encourage you and your loved ones to make a plan to get vaccinated.
DDS Program Analyst Darlene Richardson has less anxiety about being around people now that she is fully vaccinated. Richardson, who is also a licensed graduate professional counselor (LGPC), was the first among her family and friends to get vaccinated at the beginning of 2021. She received her final dose of the Pfizer vaccine in February. Her decision to take the shot was made at the last minute while the region was still facing a shortage of medication. The only side effect she experienced was a little fatigue after both doses
“I feel the benefit of not getting COVID due to being vaccinated far outweighs the risk of possible side effects in the distant future. I am still cautious about my surroundings and continue to wear a face mask, but I feel more confident in being out and about.”
According to DDS Director Andrew Reese, the COVID-19 vaccine was “the easiest shot” he’s ever had. Reese joins DC Mayor Muriel Bowser’s Day of Action efforts, canvassing neighborhoods across the District to encourage residents to make a plan to get vaccinated. “One of the most effective ways to get more people vaccinated is by talking to each other." One of his main reasons for taking the shot is something many understand, being able to spend time with family and friends without wearing a face mask.
Jeneelle Williams (left) and her son Derrick are now fully vaccinated. Derrick receives companion and in-home supports from Fescum, Inc. The 23-year-old was excited about getting his second shot. "Now I won't get sick or poisoned." His mom was happy with the setup at the recreation center. While she found the paperwork a bit redundant, she was pleased with how DDS "got information out to families, and the follow-up was good."
Accompanied by DSP Tyeisha Troublefield (standing) Cheryl Hill (seated) was very calm and relaxed while receiving her second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Now fully vaccinated, she believes that wearing a mask is still important. She also commented that men and women should get the shot and continue to "wash your hands and stay six feet apart." Hill is supported by Amazing Grace.
DDS/RSA Program Manager Angela Spinella and her husband Hank Daugherty received their second dose of the Moderna Vaccine in late April.
"My why for being vaccinated is because I believe that I must do my part as a good citizen to help stop the spread of COVID-19. It was especially important to get vaccinated, as my in-laws live with us, and we wanted to be sure that we were protecting them, as well as ourselves."
DDS People Planning Together Trainer Kevin Wright (forefront) and his twin brother Keith proudly display their CDC card verifying that they are fully vaccinated. They got their vaccinations at the Don't Miss Your Shot event hosted by Medstar and Cora Masters Barry at the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center in Ward 8. The two received the Johnson and Johnson shot. Both experienced the same side effects: weakness, a mild headache, and chills. As twins often do, they shared a blanket until their symptoms passed. Even with the side effects, Kevin still recommends that other people take the shot. "And with three vaccines out there, you can choose which one you want."