Acting Secretary Schrader Visits Melwood’s COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic
March 24, 2021
UPPER MARLBORO, MD, March 24, 2021 – Melwood welcomed Maryland Department of Health Acting Secretary Dennis R. Schrader at its third COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic on Thursday, March 18, 2021. Acting Secretary Schrader visited Melwood while on a tour of Southern Maryland sites that are focusing on offering vaccinations to minorities, people with disabilities, and underserved populations. In addition to Acting Secretary Schrader, Melwood also welcomed Erica Berry Wilson, Chief of Staff to the DCAO For Health, Human Services and Education for Prince George’s County.
“Melwood is grateful for the work being done to promote access to COVID-19 vaccinations to the disability community and we’re proud to play an integral role,” said Larysa Kautz, President & CEO of Melwood. “The health and safety of our employees, participants, and families continue to be my top priority.” Hundreds of Melwood employees work on the frontlines fighting COVID-19 at over 60 federal contract sites and bases.
Over three vaccination sessions in March, Melwood has been able to administer over 500 COVID-19 vaccines to people with disabilities, a chronically underserved population that is at particularly high risk of complications from COVID-19, thanks to partnerships with Giant Pharmacy and the State of Maryland. As one of the providers in the Developmental Disabilities Administration network, Melwood was selected to help with the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine to people with disabilities and the staff which supports them.
During last week’s visits with local representatives, Kautz and her staff were able to share Melwood’s vision of a more inclusive future for all people with disabilities in their communities. Kautz and her team raised some of the unique challenges people with disabilities face in receiving vaccinations, including potential sensitivity to the noise and lights of mass vaccination sites, difficulties receiving full accommodations such as ASL, communication of relevant information, as well as transportation challenges.
Melwood is one of the largest employers of people with disabilities in the country, employing more than 1,600 workers – nearly 1,000 of whom are people with disabilities. Melwood offers job placement, job training, life skills for independence, and support services to more than 2,500 people each year in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. Melwood also has an inclusive summer camp program for children and provides employment and support services to veterans and active duty military members who have experienced service-related trauma or injury. For more information, visit www.Melwood.org.
Vice President of Government and Public Relations