Entry to Covid vaccines a problem for disabled folks throughout India, disability rights teams urge precedence – Newz Hook

Row of bottles with the words Covid and Coronavirus injection on labels

Given the increasing cases of Covid across India, vaccination has become one of the most important steps to increase immunity to the virus. However, people with disabilities face major obstacles in obtaining the Covid vaccine, such as: B. Vaccine shortage, difficulties in accessing the CoWIN portal and insufficient infrastructure in vaccination centers.

Sudesh Bandekar, a visually impaired Mumbai resident who works as an accessibility tester at BarrierBreakhas both doses of the Covishield Vaccine. His family doctor and wife helped him with the paperwork. The Bandekar vaccination center was on the first floor.

“The center had three-tier facilities for registration, vaccination, and follow-up,” says Bandekar. All precautions have been taken on the ground floor, which is a great benefit for people with disabilities who choose the Covid vaccine. “

Bandekar is one of the lucky few who took both vaccines without any problems. For the majority of people with disabilities, the wait for the Covid vaccine is long and frightening. The vaccine is one of the key steps in increasing immunity to the deadly virus, and the surge in cases is a cause for concern.

Social media accounts are inundated with such posts from disabled people and their caregivers.

Disabled people appeal for Covid vaccines on social media


When the nation is in a state of shock and fear, think of the population with severe disabilities. I am a quadriplegic in Bangalore and I need your help getting the right to be vaccinated at home or in the field to do the same.

New Delhi

No responsibility to elderly and disabled people as they are not vaccinated at home or in the nursing home or halfway home. What a regressive approach from Delhi Govt.

Until a few days ago Shreya VajpayiHe, who works in a family business in Mumbai, was similarly concerned. “My sister has Down syndrome and various studies show that people with Down syndrome are more susceptible to Covid-19 due to their weakened immune system. They should take precedence after healthcare workers and the elderly. However, the Indian government is not doing this. “

Vajpayi’s appeals on social media caught the attention of Bhavesh Sadhnani. Sadhnani, advisor to seriousThe Mumbai office dedicates its free time to people with disabilities when booking Covid vaccination places on the CoWIN portal. He’s following those on @mybmc, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation‘s Twitter Timeline.

When I learned that there was no support for people with disabilities, I took time off between work while booking slots and booked slots for them. Since the vaccination campaign for the 18- to 44-year-old age group started just 10 days ago, I have been able to help three particularly disabled people. The main problem they faced was booking a slot on time. As we all know, there are 10,00,000 people in Mumbai applying for 5,000 vaccination places. There are also no provisions in the app for them. – – Bhavesh Sadhnani, volunteer for disabled people

Sadhnani has special praise for the Mumbai City Council for introducing special facilities such as driving in centers where disabled people can take the Covid vaccine. “Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation reads every one of my tweets and I’m glad they finally opened their doors to the disabled,” he says. You can tag Sadhnani at @SadhnaniBhavesh if you need help.

Specific guidelines for disabled people

Inspired by Sadhnani, many others have come forward to help disabled people register for the Covid vaccine. However, your efforts are a drop in the ocean when you factor in the number of people with disabilities who are in need.

The Vasai Virar community outside of Mumbai is an indication of the magnitude of the need. There are only two centers here for the two-lakh population. Not even one of the 250 or so people with disabilities who live here has received the Covid vaccine so far.

“There are large crowds in the Covid vaccination centers that make them risky for disabled people,” he says Rahul Bhandarkar, a social worker who provides handicapped people and other needy people with cooked food and other important goods. “In addition, the two centers have even been closed for some time because no Covid vaccines are available.”

Dilip Angane, a content digitizer at BarrierBreak and a Mumbai resident, has a good word for the support given to disabled people in Mumbai but says the inaccessibility of the CoWIN portal is a gross oversight. Angane, who is orthopedically disabled due to polio, took both doses of the Covid vaccine. “I received a lot of support from hospital staff and volunteers when I was doing my Covid vaccination shots, but in general the whole process is inaccessible to disabled people which is a huge oversight. It makes you dependent on others ”.

Experiences like these that have led disability rights groups like us Ektha Foundation and National platform for the rights of the disabled Call for specific guidelines on Covid vaccines for disabled people across India. Among other things, they are calling for vaccination drives on the doorstep for the elderly and people with disabilities.

Disability Rights Alliance member Meenakshi Balasubramaniam a PIL filed in the Madras High Court after repeated petitions to the previous AIADMK government remained unheard. Following her petition and an ongoing campaign by the Ektha Foundation, the court ordered the Tamil Nadu government to take steps to prioritize vaccination for disabled people and make vaccination centers accessible to people with disabilities.

Door-to-door vaccine propulsion demand for the elderly and disabled

“Despite the court order, the government has yet to develop guidelines,” said the Ektha Foundation Newz Hook. “The accessibility in the vaccination centers is very poor and people are vaccinated in the open air because they do not have access to the buildings. Most people with disabilities cannot turn to private facilities for the Covid vaccine due to the cost factor. We received no response from the prime minister and other state and national officials, so we had no choice but to go to the Supreme Court. “

Because of their increased vulnerability, this lack of priority for people with disabilities is a criminal flaw. Even the Bombay Supreme Court has instructed the center to reconsider its current protocol not to allow door-to-door vaccination. This could have saved the lives of disabled people who were unable to visit the vaccination centers for the Covid vaccines. Many disabled people on social media post comments like: “It makes me feel that we are excluded from the vaccination campaign only because of visual impairment” or “They do not care about us”. Comments that don’t seem that far-fetched given the previous neglect of people with disabilities.

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