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COVID-19: For a fair access to vaccine

Health
International

170 million people worldwide have been infected by COVID-19. Vaccination is key to tackle the crisis.

An outreach officer uses an awareness image box on Covid-19 in Bangui, Central African Republic, November 19, 2020. As part of the activities of the Synergies project, people with disabilities have been informed about the virus and preventative measures by their peers through the network of organizations of people with disabilities (DPOs).

An outreach officer uses an awareness image box on Covid-19 in Bangui, Central African Republic, November 19, 2020. As part of the activities of the Synergies project, people with disabilities have been informed about the virus and preventative measures by their peers through the network of organizations of people with disabilities (DPOs). | © A. Surprenant / HI

Humanity & Inclusion (HI) deplores an unequal access to vaccine between rich and low income countries. The association promotes universal and equitable access to Covid-19 vaccine.

So far, more than 82% of the world’s vaccine doses have gone to affluent countries. Just 0.3% have gone to low-income countries, says United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres. [1]

Country governments should meet their commitment to the global collaboration to accelerate the development, production and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments and vaccines launched by WHO and partners in late April 2020 (the ACT-A[2]). They should donate a portion of their own vaccine supplies to help rectify inequity in global distribution between richer and poorer countries.

Priority for persons with disabilities

Persons with disabilities - who represent 15% of the global population - are particularly exposed to COVID 19 and face significant barriers in accessing health information and services. 80% of persons with disabilities in the world live in poverty.[3] They are often isolated or rejected by their communities.

In many countries, health facilities are not accessible for persons with disabilities due to inaccessible buildings, unavailable medical equipment, high costs, inaccessible transport to and from the health facilities, etc.

 

Persons with disabilities often have difficulties to get information on the pandemic as information on health is rarely adapted to persons with disabilities: for example, a radio awareness campaign will not be accessible for persons who are deaf or hard of hearing. Persons who are blind or with low vision will not be able to access information in brochures written in inaccessible format.

Involving persons with disabilities

The roll-out of vaccine campaigns, related planning and policymaking, should be organised with the involvement of persons with disabilities and their representative organisations. They are in the best position to ensure the vaccination campaigns are inclusive of persons with disabilities and are adapted to their needs.

HI and the COVID pandemic

  • Since March 2020, HI teams working at the country level have adapted their activities to the health crisis. HI has supported 2.2 million people in 46 countries:
  • HI has made 1.6 million people aware of the risks and means of prevention.
  • HI has distributed 138,000 hygiene kits and 800,000 masks.
  • HI has provided food assistance to nearly 7,000 people.
  • HI has provided psycho-social support to 225,000 people.
  • HI transported 4,000 m3 of emergency material.
 

[2] The Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, is a global collaboration to accelerate development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines. It was launched at the end of April 2020 and brings together governments, scientists, businesses, civil society, and philanthropists and global health organizations

[3] The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, paragraph 23.

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