Making a case for priority-based vaccinations for persons with disabilities
During the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, persons with disabilities are experiencing exclusion, discrimination, and negligence. We do not want this to be the case when it comes to the distribution of Covid-19 vaccines.
The disability movement and related organizations have grave concerns about prioritizing vaccinations for persons with disabilities, and the accessibility of vaccination procedures, relevant information, venues, and the availability of vaccines based on everyone's permission.
Keeping this in mind, communities, policymakers, and health care planners in every area should prioritize persons with disabilities and include support networks of their preference in priority groups to obtain vaccinations.
It should be started as soon as possible, as the United Nations and World Health Organization (WHO) have released specific and strong guidelines, urging governments to install proper administrative and infrastructural mechanisms to ensure that individuals with disabilities have priority access to Covid-19 vaccines.
People with mental, psychological, and physical disabilities need to be brought under emergency and priority-based vaccination programs as:
Some health problems that are more common among individuals with disabilities make Covid-19 transmission more deadly. When it comes to how we treat persons with disabilities, it is mostly discriminatory behaviours that have been documented within the health care system. Pandemic restrictions and inaccessible health care information have made health care navigation much more difficult for many persons with disabilities, especially those who are unable to use digital solutions.
Thus, not everyone is able to get the health care they need on time. Covid-19 signs are not understood until it is too late due to communication difficulties, the fact that they appear differently, and the possibility that we mistakenly assign disease symptoms to a person's impairment ("diagnostic overshadowing").
Despite federal guidance and moral concerns, essential care partners are often denied access to hospitals to assist with assessing, diagnosing, and managing illnesses, both Covid-19-related and not. Not only does this result in poor treatment, but it may also result in avoidable deaths.
While we continue to advocate for prioritization of vaccines for persons with disabilities, we should:
A global vaccine roll-out is being developed to ensure that Covid-19 vaccination is spread equitably. People with disabilities matter in this respect.
Sumaiya Noor is a development sector research professional. Her areas of interest include Covid-19, RMG Automation, GBV, and Sustainable Development. She can be reached at [email protected]