Reach the furthest behind first: Persons with disabilities must be prioritized in accessing COVID-19 vaccinations

January 13, 2021 11:51 am Published by

Recommendations by the International Disability Alliance ​ (IDA):

On behalf of persons with disabilities and their organizations as well as support networks all over the world, we call on all governments, United Nations agencies and the private sector to immediately take all measures to ensure that:

  1. COVID-19 vaccinations are available in free or low-cost targeted programs to all people including persons with disabilities and support networks of their choice;
  2. Persons with disabilities and support networks of their choice have priority access to vaccinations; including personal assistants, family caregivers, and persons working in disability-related services;
  3. Sites, where vaccinations are delivered, are physically accessible and live guidance and assistance is provided for those who need it. Free or low-cost targeted programs for accessible transportation must be provided where necessary;
  4. Specific outreach is conducted to ensure that persons with disabilities know of the availability of vaccinations, and all information campaigns are inclusive and accessible to persons with disabilities, including gender and age-appropriate;
  5. All information systems related to vaccinations must collect data disaggregated by age, gender and disability, and web-based services should also be fully accessible while ensuring respect for private life and the confidentiality of health-related information;
  6. Receiving a COVID-19 vaccination must be based on free and informed consent of persons with disabilities. Autonomy and legal capacity of all persons with disabilities including persons with intellectual disabilities, persons with psychosocial disabilities and autistic persons must not be undermined with justifications such as public good or the best interest of the person;
  7. International organizations and government must ensure that persons with disabilities and their representative organizations meaningfully participate in policy-making and planning on distribution of COVID-19 vaccinations and related processes;
  8. Organizations of persons with disabilities must be properly resourced to become partners in the roll-out of information campaigns, for instance by reaching out to the most marginalized people and ensure their messages are clear, inclusive and accessible.

Read and download key recommendations: (English – PDF  and Word)

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This post was written by Terry Mutuku