Court: U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland
Plaintiff: The Arc Maryland
Defendants: Baltimore City, Queen Anne’s County, Carroll County, Garrett County, Somerset County, Talbot County
Counsel: The Arc, Disability Rights Maryland, Brown & Barron LLC
Overview: The Arc Maryland filed a federal lawsuit alleging that six jurisdictions in Maryland, including Baltimore City, discriminate against people with IDD by denying them opportunities to access COVID-19 vaccinations inconsistent with the State’s Executive order and Vaccination Plan. This discrimination puts lives at stake and violates the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.
While vaccination sites must offer vaccines to the public in accordance with Maryland’s state vaccination plan, the five counties and Baltimore City exclude individuals with IDD in their list of who is eligible, preventing those with IDD from accessing vaccinations.
It is well established that COVID-19-related fatality rates among people with IDD who test positive for COVID-19 are nearly three times greater than the mortality rates among the general population who are positive for the virus. People with IDD also face heightened risk because many rely on caregivers or direct support professionals who provide assistance with activities of daily living, for which social distancing is often not possible. Frequently, such caregivers serve multiple people raising risks of transmission. Despite advocacy from The Arc Maryland, people with IDD are not getting equal access to vaccines, compelling the need for the lawsuit.
Status: All six jurisdictions made changes to comply with the state executive order and avoid discrimination and the complaint was withdrawn.
The Maryland Daily Record: 6 Md. jurisdictions sued over vaccine eligibility for people with disabilities
The Garrett County Republican: Garrett County sued over vaccine info for people with disabilities
The Cumberland Times-News: Organization alleges vaccine discrimination
National Journal: Disability communities face barriers to COVID-19 vaccines