Individuals with disabilities should be prior…

Empty vials of the AstraZeneca Plc Covid-19 vaccine in the Catholic Church of the Holy Spirit of the Babakan Conggu community in the Canggu region of Bali, Indonesia, on Wednesday May 12, 2021. (Photo: Putu Sayoga / Bloomberg via Getty Images)

As a disabled person, I am deeply concerned that the upcoming Immediate Registration of the Phase 2 Rollout Plan so far mainly applies to those over the age of 60. People with disabilities under the age of 60 were not prioritized, writes reader Marlene le Roux.

Marlene le Roux is a disability and women’s rights activist. She is co-founder of the Women’s Achievement Network for Disability and CEO of the Artscape Theater Center in Cape Town.

The South African government recently announced that it would reintroduce the country’s Covid-19 vaccination program after it was temporarily suspended due to global concerns about a possible link between the vaccine currently in use, namely Johnson & Johnson, and the formation of deadly blood clots. In addition, the company has presented its Phase 2 rollout plan, which will vaccinate 1.5 million people including our naturopaths by the end of May and an additional 13 million people from May to October.

The announcements are a welcome relief for proactive medical action and intervention in the hope of containing the tide of this deadly pandemic that recently gripped our nation during its “second wave” and is currently devastating and devastating nations like India, Brazil and Turkey. to name just a few. It is therefore important to note that the government’s immediate and short-term rollout plan targets a range of vulnerable people.

However, as a person with a disability, I am deeply concerned that the imminent immediate registration of the Phase 2 rollout plans so far mainly applies to those over the age of 60. People with disabilities under the age of 60 were not prioritized. I am all the more dismayed by the reaction of the government of the Western Cape when it approached the issue of prioritizing the disabled by repeating that they would go by age group (namely 60+) and “have not yet decided what comorbidities will be, if at all, ”says Anne-Rita Koen, Deputy Director of the Western Cape Ministry of Health.

I am a Trustee of Tygerberg Hospital, a Covid-19 survivor, and I continue to mourn my beloved mother who passed away from Covid-19 complications. After not being vaccinated as a child during the polio pandemic, I contracted the virus, so I appreciate all of the challenges people with disabilities currently face.

According to the World Health Organization, people with disabilities are classified as vulnerable populations in public health emergency situations. Existing institutional, environmental and attitudinal barriers are increasing and in times of public health emergencies new barriers emerge which affect the exercise of fundamental rights for people with disabilities, including the right to life, access to health care and the Right, further restrict to independent living. This was well documented during the global Covid-19 pandemic.

The International Disability Alliance declares:

“People with disabilities are at increased risk of developing Covid-19 due to existing health conditions and inequalities in underlying and social determinants of health and exposure to support providers.

“In the event of an infection with Covid-19, groups of people with disabilities with pre-existing illnesses such as breathing problems are at a higher risk of developing critical illnesses or losing their lives.

“Due to hiring and environmental barriers, people with disabilities are often among the last groups to have access to high-demand public services, especially in risky and emergency situations.”

Therefore, people with disabilities remain a high-risk group who contract a serious illness of Covid-19 due to a weakened, if not weakened, immune system.

While a person with a disability is often identified as a person with visible disabilities, such as those caused by an accident, there is a cohort of people with disabilities as well as disabilities caused by a variety of diseases including Lyme, Crohn’s disease, Psoriatic arthritis, autoimmune and pulmonary hypertension diseases, including a variety of conditions that severely affect the body to cause severe Covid 19 disease and possible death due to the complications associated with it.

The lancet from April 21, 2021 it says:

“People with disabilities were not adequately involved in the Covid-19 response, leading to pandemic-related inequalities … reflecting deeper social injustice and exclusion. At this tipping point in the pandemic, the commitment to improving health equity is paramount for the remainder of the vaccine roll-out and beyond. “

Parliament’s role under the Civil Protection Act is to hear the voice of the people so that our constitutional rights can be exercised and to offer additional solutions and interventions to guide us through this pandemic.

With this in mind, as a disabled person, a member of the Presidential Task Team for People with Disabilities and in my capacity as a disability activist, I would like to urge the state to urgently review the prioritization and procedure of Registration for these vulnerable members of our community in the phase 2 vaccination rollout process, not just through technology but also through social development platforms and local clinics.

Failure to immediately involve this vulnerable group can lead to unnecessary suffering, illness, and death, and add to the magnitude of the current pandemic. I also invite the government to contact me regarding the plea in this letter as I will endeavor to provide additional input and advice according to the required interaction represented in the role of Parliament.

Thank you for your continued support and attention in providing the nation with the necessities to stem the widespread devastation this ongoing pandemic can cause. DM

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