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COVID-19 vaccine: Group wants FG to prioritise PWDs

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The Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), a non-governmental organisation (NGO), has appealed to the Federal Government to prioritise Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Mr David Anyaele, CCD Executive Director, said this in a statement on Friday in Abuja.

Anyaele lauded the government’s efforts in combating the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country through its various strategies.

He also commended the government for the successful procurement of the first batch of the COVID-19 vaccine through the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.

“We commend the initiative of the government in prioritising groups that will get vaccinated first which includes the President and the Vice President.

“However, as laudable as the effort of the government has been on the public vaccination against COVID-19, we are worried that persons with disabilities are missing in the prioritised groups to be vaccinated in the first batch.

“We are also concerned that the developing protocols for vaccination of Nigerians made no reference to persons with disabilities at all,” he said.

He lamented that the PWDs were susceptible to contacting the COVID-19, bearing in mind their inability to operate independently most times, hence the need to be given topmost priority in the vaccination.

He urged the Presidential Task Force and the state Task Force teams on COVID-19 to give priority to the PWDs, bearing in mind that the PWDs were highly discriminated against by state and non-state institutions, especially by healthcare service providers.

He appealed that the various venues for vaccinations be made accessible to the PWDs in line with the Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2018.

“The PWDs must not suffer further disability in their efforts to get vaccinated.

“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 should have an accompanying sign language interpreter inserted.

“And audio adverts on vaccination must ensure that all information are properly pronounced for the benefit of the deaf and the blind,” he said.

Anyaele appealed that no one should be left behind in the distribution and administration of the COVID-19 vaccination by reason of his or her disability.

Diana Omueza

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