Have we forgotten about the Person with Disabilities for COVID 19 Vaccination – A need of the hour!!!
Keywords:COVID 19, Vaccination, PwDs
Persons with disabilities (PwDs) are less likely to access health care facilities, education, and employment in their day-to-day life. They are more likely to experience higher rates of neglect and abuse. The present COVID-19 pandemic situation has further affected the PwDs in terms of physical and social neglect. Moreover, the concept of social distancing, using a face mask, and following cough hygiene, which is fundamental in controlling the spread of COVID 19, is likely to be followed by the person with an intellectual impairment since they are highly dependent on their caretakers for their day to day activities. This scenario is even worse with PwDs who are living in congregate settings like residential camps, nursing facilities, and psychiatric institutions where infectivity is very higher. Thus a pronged approach is needed to assure that PwDs are not left behind during the times of pandemic. This paper argues that PwDs, because of their increased risk for exposure to COVID-19 and its consequences of developing morbidity and even possible deaths, should be prioritized in vaccination strategies. Otherwise, they will be left behind, experiencing disproportionate loss of lives and livelihoods, inaccessible health care services, and disconnection from society.