If you’ve been following the headlines, then you’re well aware of the amazing medical breakthroughs that have happened regarding the COVID-19 vaccine. Essential workers across the country are already receiving treatments and, according to a recent article in The New York Post, people in recovery programs may be next on the list.
The Post piece pertains specifically to actions that might occur in New York. Quoting state governor Andrew Cuomo, the article highlights his goal to make sure people in treatment facilities are also taken out of harm’s way.
Cuomo recently held a virtual news conference where he addressed vaccinations within his state. Midway through, he called out OASAS, better known as The Office of Addiction Services and Support. His rollout plan calls for all residents of that facility to receive vaccinations over the next few weeks. One key reason is, centers like OASAS house many people in close quarters.
“These are congregate facilities,” Cuomo explained during his speech. “Congregate facilities are problematic. That’s where you have a lot of people in concentration. OASAS facilities, what we call the O facilities, they’re congregate — not necessarily for older people like nursing homes — but they are congregate facilities.”
According to details released after the news conference, both residents and staffers of state-run and privately operated rehab centers will be on the list for immediate vaccinations. And, as the article correctly points out, there are many other reasons that people fighting addictions should be given top priority.
Luka Nasta, a director for the New York Association of Substance Abuse Providers, was also quoted in The Post and explained how people with dependencies also have a high risk for spreading the coronavirus.
“The recovery community was overlooked initially,” Nasta told the outlet. “We got the governor’s office’s attention and Governor Cuomo acted appropriately. Though it’s sad to admit, we have seen that drug users have a very high likelihood to contract and spread the disease.”
It is certainly true that when you are in the throes of an addiction, judgments get cloudy and people take incredible risks to score their substances. It is for reasons like this that dependent Americans have been identified as spreaders, especially those who share needles or illicit drugs amongst each other.
It is interesting to note that our home state of California has been called out as one of the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Which makes you wonder if a similar announcement may happen soon from our own governor, Gavin Newsom.