Remove Age Bar For Disabled, Include All Categories For COVID-19 Vaccination: Activists

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New Delhi: Disability rights groups and activists want the age bar for vaccination of people with disabilities to be removed, the inclusion of all categories of disabilities in the drive and also shots for up to two caregivers of those with severe disabilities.

In a statement, the Disability Rights Alliance (DRA) has said though coverage of some disabilities in phase II vaccination is welcome from the inclusion point of view, “it is still not enough”. “Moreover, disability need not be called a comorbidity as most disabled citizens in India are at a higher risk of Covid-19 acquisition and even death. Instead of a comorbidity list, it should be a vaccine priority list of high-risk groups,” the advocacy group added.

Vaishnavi Jayakumar, member, DRA, said: “There should not be any age bar for vaccination to the disabled as there is enough evidence in India’s Covid death data to support what every disabled Indian knows – they rarely emerge alive from hospitals,” member DRA, Vaishnavi Jayakumar was quoted as saying by The Indian Express (TIE).

“Along with geo-tagging planned for Covid vaccination centres, the government should also indicate ramp availability and general accessibility information, including waiting areas in hospitals. Or, there should be provisions for home vaccinations,” added Jayakumar.

The Ministry of Health has announced coverage of citizens above 60 and those above 45 with comorbidities in this round. According to the list of categories issued by the Ministry, among one of the 20 comorbidities that will be given priority include “persons with disabilities due to intellectual disabilities/ muscular dystrophy/ acid attack with involvement of respiratory system/ persons with disabilities having high support needs/ multiple disabilities including deaf-blindness”.

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