Nigeria: Covid-19 Vaccine - PWDs Express Worry Over Exclusion From Priority Groups

6 March 2021

Abuja — Person With Disabilities, PWDs, under the auspices of Centre for Citizens with Disabilities, CCD, Friday, expressed worry over alleged exclusion from priority groups that would first be administered with the COVID-19 vaccine.

Their fear was contained in a statement signed by Executive Director, CDD, David Anyaele, which is that persons with disabilities are susceptible to contact COVID-19 infection compared to able-bodied persons, hence should be considered first for the vaccine.

The statement reads in part, "As laudable as the effort of the federal government on the public vaccination against COVID-19, CCD is worried that persons with disabilities are missing amongst the prioritizing groups to be vaccinated from this batch.

"We are also concern that the developing protocols for vaccination of Nigerians made no reference to persons with disabilities. Our worries is premised on the fact that persons with disabilities are susceptible to contact COVID bearing in mind their inability to operate independently most time hence the need to be given topmost priority in vaccination exercise.

"It is on this note that CCD is calling on the Presidential Task Force (PTF) and the States Task Force on COVID-19 to: Prioritize persons with disabilities in the first groups of public vaccination. This is because PWDs in Nigeria are highly discriminated by State and non-State institutions in particular healthcare service providers.

"Ensure the venues for vaccinations are accessible to persons with disabilities in line with Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2018. PWD must suffer further disability in their efforts to get vaccinated as more than 95% of public infrastructures are not accessible to citizens with disabilities

"All Covid-19 vaccination information, education, and communication materials should be accessible to all. Where there is a video material, we request that such material has a sign language interpreter inserted on the video, and the audio advert must ensure that all information is pronounced for the benefit of the deaf and blind citizens, the process should be communicated inaccessible manner to all persons with disabilities.

"No one should be left behind in the distribution and administration of Covid-19 vaccination by reason of his or her disability."

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