All CILs should have received the following from Jennifer Johnson, Deputy Commissioner, Administration on Disabilities and Director, Office of Disability Service Innovations at Administration for Community Living. It provides information about a national call center — and you are part of the local resources that the national hotline will use to send local questions your way. Here is the text of the letter:
SUBJECT: Launch of Disability Vaccine Call Center
In March, we announced a partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to increase vaccine access for people with disabilities and older adults. I’m happy to share that the national call center established through that partnership is now ready to serve people with disabilities.
The Disability Information and Access Line (DIAL) can help people with disabilities find vaccine locations in their communities and assist with making appointments. When needed, the DIAL call center will refer individuals to state and/or local programs for additional supportive services. We will be publicly announcing the launch of DIAL in the coming weeks. The call center is fully accessible.
We need your help to gradually build call volume so that we can fully test the call center’s systems and processes before the public launch. Could you please begin sharing the DIAL contact information with your clients and networks? Sample language you can use is found at the bottom of this email. We ask that, for now as the center gets established, you not post this information on websites or social media or send to broad lists of email subscribers. Rather, please share with clients who may need assistance and organizations in your network who may be a first point of contact for a person with a disability who may need help accessing vaccines. People can reach DIAL using email or by phone:
Phone number: 888-677-1199
Last week, DIAL started receiving referrals from the CDC hotline and will continue to raise awareness about the call center. As the number of callers increases, you may see increased referrals to your program.
In preparation for receiving calls, the DIAL Call Center team has worked closely with an initial core group of disability partners (see below list) who have provided guidance on:
- Training. Our trainings have covered effective communication; Independent Living philosophy; core services and how they can support the vaccination process; rights of people with disabilities, including during the vaccination process; and determining the most appropriate referrals for people with disabilities based on their stated needs.
- Position descriptions. We have worked with our partners to ensure that we have developed position descriptions that will increase reach to applicants with disabilities.
- Promotion. We are exploring how best to promote this resource to reach as many people with disabilities as possible. We will be in touch again after the public launch to ask for your support in this broader effort.
If you have any questions, please let us know.
Sample DIAL Language for Partners
Because of the elevated risk of serious illness and death due to COVID-19, vaccination is critically important for people with disabilities. However, we know that many face significant barriers to getting vaccinated. The Administration for Community Living (ACL) has launched DIAL, the Disability Information and Access Line, to support the needs of people with disabilities seeking information and access to the COVID-19 vaccine in their communities. DIAL will connect people with disabilities to local resources that can provide information and assistance in obtaining the COVID-19 vaccine. In addition, DIAL can connect callers to information and services that promote independent living, including inquiries related to food, housing, transportation, and a need for advocacy or peer counseling that may arise due to COVID-19.
Email: DIAL@n4a.org Phone number: 888-677-1199
DIAL was launched as a partnership between the n4a and a consortium of organizations serving people with disabilities. These include:
- Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL)
- Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD)
- Independent Living Research Utilization (ILRU)
- National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD)
- National Council on Independent Living (NCIL),
- National Disabilities Rights Network (NDRN), and
- The Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies.
This partnership combines the disability networks’ extensive knowledge and expertise in meeting the needs of people with disabilities across the U.S. and n4a’s decades of experience in operating a national call center to connect people to information and services. By leveraging these capabilities, ACL was able to launch this critical tool in less than six weeks.