Are disabled people slipping through the net when it comes to vaccinations?
The other day, my attention was drawn by the tweet from radio DJ Jo Whiley (52) who had tweeted that she had been offered the COVID vaccine before her younger sister. Why was that of interest? Because her sister has the rare chromosomal disorder Cri du Chat, has underlying health conditions and lives in a nursing home but still hadn’t had her vaccination yet.
I saw another tweet from a disability blogger @shonalouiseblog highlighting the fact that she hadn’t had hers either despite having a heart condition but her healthy mother and sister had both had theirs.
I then had a message of Facebook from a friend whose daughter has Downs Syndrome, deploring the way in which disabled people (especially those which learning disabilities) are being treated during this pandemic.
Is this really how chaotic the vaccine rollout is becoming?
I might have been less disturbed if I hadn’t read this morning about some very well known actors from extremely well known soaps who had gotten their vaccine, even though they were in their 50’s with no underlying conditions.
How do others who are closer to the question than I feel?
Jo Whiley said she is living “a nightmare” after being offered a Covid vaccine before her sister, who has a learning disability and diabetes. Her sister Frances has since tested positive for coronavirus after there was an outbreak in her care home. The BBC Radio 2 presenter said she would give up her vaccine for her sister “in a heartbeat”.
Disabilty blogger @shonalouiseblog said she was tired of fighting and was ” tired of living in a country that doesn’t give a damn about disabled lives”
My friend agreed saying that whilst his daughter had had her vaccination due to her diabetes, she remained “extremely worried and stressed”
So are disabled people being abandoned during this pandemic?
I turned to Google and read in the Nursing Times that grass roots nurses are among campaigners who are calling for the government to rethink its decision not to prioritise all people with a learning disability for Covid-19 vaccination. With only those with Down’s Syndrome or a “severe” learning disability explicitly named in the priority guidance, it is feared many others with a learning disability will be at the back of the queue for vaccination and even more worryingly, they were 30 times more likely to die from COVID than their non-disabled peers. Plus, 60% of ALL deaths from COVID-19 were of disabled people according to @TheUnwrittenPub, a website dedicated to publishing stories written by and about disabled people.
I’ve heard so many horror stories about this. Dan White, father to a disabled daughter and writer/advocate/lobbyist has written in this months Posability magazine. He writes about the withdrawal or complete absence of any support or care for disabled people during this pandemic, naming various examples (including his own) where parents and carers have literally been abandoned to care for their loved ones alone and without and help, support or respite. He quotes that families feel “abandoned and let down”
A year now without a single day or even an hour off, that’s unimaginable surely?
But carers have been placed in this position with no explanation or apology; just left to fend for themselves whilst continuing to care for their loved ones as best they can whilst under unimaginable pressure. (Whilst also saving the Government an absolute bloody fortune into the bargain!)
How can any of this be fair? Aren’t we “all in this together”?
How can the vaccine roll out be defended and believed if during press briefings, the ministers promise that the jabs will be given to the most vulnerable first but then we see in the paper that Sally Webster from Coronation Street (57 years of age with no underlying health conditions?) has been vaccinated this morning? Someone has since reminded me that she’d had breast cancer in the past so that’s why she’d had the jab but the photos don’t tell you that and can be misconstrued?
Surely the Government should be answering these queries?
Surely they should be promising to sort this out?
Shouldn’t they be answering questions properly instead of shutting off reporter’s microphones during their COVID press briefings so no further questions can be asked?
If we’re truly all in this together, then shouldn’t that mean ALL of us……??