Health experts and responsible authorities have been challenged to provide adequate information about COVID-19 vaccines for speedy uptake by people with disabilities (PWDs) and at the same time include them in COVID-19 task forces at all levels.
Disability Amalgamation Community Trust (DACT) executive director Henry Chivhanga told this publication that the lack of information about the side effects of the vaccines accounts for the slow uptake of vaccines among PWDs.
“People with disabilities by their nature have diverse underlying health challenges. We believe that there has never been deliberate research on the effects of the diverse vaccines on PWDs for example those with albinism and those who have impairments due to polio.
“This accounts for the slow uptake of vaccines among PWDs hence the need for more information on COVID-19 vaccines,” said Chivhanga.
Chivhanga also expressed the need for PWDs to occupy top ranks in the COVID-19 task forces at all levels in order to ensure that the rights of people with disabilities are respected and their concerns are looked at especially during this period.
“We want to see more people with disabilities of diverse impairments in the COVID-19 task forces at all levels.
“We are also advocating for PWDs to be attended to first for those who would have presented themselves at vaccination centers,” added Chivhanga.
Chivhanga further highlighted that PWDs in rural areas are in a dire situation due to lack of quality services and access to information. He urged all partners to directly channel resources to organisations that advocate for the rights of people with disabilities.
“People with disabilities in rural areas are living in a dire situation. We have very limited options due to resource limitations, we do not have logistical resources to reach out to them except through the SMS platform here and there for those who have mobile phones otherwise most of them are left behind,” he added.
DACT advocates on the rights of people with disabilities currently using personal resources from board members.