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Advocacy groups decry exclusion of those with ADHD from vaccine rollout

Last Updated Apr 23, 2021 at 1:10 pm MDT

Syringes containing the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine sit in a tray in a vaccination room at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, Calif., Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – Two national advocacy groups are calling out the Alberta government for excluding ADHD as a developmental disability in the vaccine rollout.

The Canadian ADHD Resource Alliance and the Centre for ADHD Awareness (CADDAC) said people with the disorder are among those at greater risk when it comes to COVID-19.

CADDAC founder Heidi Bernhardt said studies show the risk of contracting the virus is 52 per cent higher.

“Just recently, this April, another study came out that said that when people with ADHD do have COVID, they have increased severity of COVID symptoms, so they are more likely to end up in the hospital.”

The two groups said that while some provinces have included a limited number of neurodevelopmental disorders in their priority groups, patients with ADHD have not been specified.

Dr. Joan Flood with ADHD Resource Alliance said provinces should have prioritized those with neurological disorders from the beginning.

“Their failure to do so is putting lives at risk, and their lack of investment in a plan to remove any and all obstacles for people with neurodevelopmental disabilities trying to access their vaccination is a serious problem.”

“COVID-19 vaccination must be accessible to people of all abilities,” added Juanita Beaudry, Executive Director of CADDAC. “People with ADHD, a neurodevelopmental disability, should not face barriers in scheduling or receiving vaccination in their province.”

Currently the provincial government is in Phase 2D of the vaccine rollout which prioritizes health care professionals such as pharmacists, dentists, physicians, and nurses, along with healthcare workers on First Nation reserves and Metis Settlements.

Albertans 40 years of age and older are also eligible for the AstraZeneca vaccine.