Covid-19 Vaccine and Prioritization of Citizens with Disabilities
The Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) commend the efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari and the Federal Government of Nigeria for the un-relented efforts in combating the spread of COVID-19 in Nigeria. The Federal Government recently through the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) successfully procured and received the first batch of COVID-19 vaccine.
The Centre further commends the government for taking steps in prioritizing groups that would first take the vaccine even as Mr. President and the Vice President will take their vaccination on Saturday 6th March 2021.
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 are premised on the fact that persons with disabilities are more likely susceptible to contact COVID bearing in mind their inability to operate independently in 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 against 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 not 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 audio advert must ensure that all information are pronounced for the benefit of the deaf and blind citizens, the process should be communicated in accessible 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.
The Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) is the premier organization of, and for persons with disabilities that works to promote disability rights, independent living, inclusion, and participation of persons with disabilities in development agenda. CCD coordinated CSOs campaign for the passage of the National Disability Bill, now an Act.
David O. Anyaele,