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DFI urge Government to give priority to people with disabilities for COVID-19 vaccines

After a rough year where the world had to readjust in so many ways, 2020 ended presenting us with some hope for the cure of Corona virus in a near future. Every country around the globe is now rushing to secure their place in procuring a vaccine for the virus, and in Ireland it is no different.

Despite having already received the first 10,000 doses of the two-step Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine (Source: THE IRISH TIMES), and having a vaccination calendar already set out, The Disability Federation of Ireland (DFI) claims that the Department of Health does not specifically mention people with disabilities in their agenda.

DFI highlights that there are over 9,000 people with disabilities living in residential settings in Ireland. These people along with their families have been cocooning at home due to the high risk that the virus can pose to those with underlying conditions.

The DFI argues that, at this stage, age is less relevant in terms of the severity of the consequences of contracting COVID-19 for people with disabilities. The numbers indicate that the death rate of people with intellectual disabilities in England is up to six times higher than the rest of the population. The figures appear more startling when comparing those aged 18-34 with intellectual disabilities to the same age group without disabilities: the death rate is 30 times higher.

In the beginning of December 2020, DFI teamed up with fifteen other patient organisations to write a letter to An Taoiseach and the Chair of the High-Level Task Force on Vaccination and Immunisation where they asked to prioritise people with chronic and/or rare diseases of all ages to receive the vaccine in earlier waves. The coalition is also calling for representatives from the public to be allowed join the membership of the Task Force and for patient organisations and vulnerable group leaders to be urgently engaged in dialogue.

To read the letter sent to An Taoiseach, click here.

To find out more information about the vaccination calendar, please check here:

Alternatively, if you need further information on accessibility, diversity and inclusion, please do not hesitate to contact one of our team on (01) 415 12 85 or e-mail [email protected].