CORE Group’s Disability Inclusive Health TAG Co-Chairs will host a workshop to identify key action steps to build a roadmap for disability-inclusive COVID-19 vaccine distribution. The workshop will feature a panel of experts on social and behavior change, vaccine service delivery and last mile distribution, and disability inclusive health, including field-based experts able to comment on current COVID-19 vaccine rollout.
Ensuring equitable distribution, access, and utilization for vulnerable populations, especially people with disabilities, is a crucial but currently neglected aspect of vaccine equity discussions. One billion people in the world are living with disability and 80% of the population live in middle- and low-income countries. By leaving out persons with disabilities, approximately 11% of the global population may not have the opportunity to be vaccinated.
People with disabilities are at increased risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19, while they are less likely to have access to health services than those without disabilities.
Another challenge is vaccine hesitancy. Social and behavior change messages need to be developed to target people with disabilities to transform vaccine hesitancy to vaccine confidence.
To ensure equitable protection from COVID-19, persons with disabilities must be included and involved in the planning, implementation, and monitoring of last mile delivery of COVID-19 vaccine distribution.
- Mohammad Iqbal | Disability, Gender and Age Specialist, Federation Handicap International Pakistan
- Dr. Bonnielin Swenor | Founder and Director, Johns Hopkins Disability Health Research Center
- Dr. Juliet Ajok | Child Health Technical Advisor, USAID RHITES-EC