The Irish Wheelchair Association has called on the Government to prioritise people with disabilities in the Covid vaccination plan, amid concerns over vaccine supplies.
The charity said that people with physical disabilities are at severe risk due to underlying conditions.
“Many people with physical disabilities are at severe risk of Covid-19 due to health conditions that could cause complications and hospitalisation, yet they have not been recognised as a vulnerable group by the Government.
“The Government must also recognise that in the absence of regular day services, many people with disabilities have been confined at home since the virus took hold last March, adding additional stress. People we support are eager to get the vaccine and are highly concerned about how long they will wait with vaccine supplies lower than planned.
“We are encouraged by the Government’s commitment to supporting frontline vaccinations in the disability sector, but both sides of the equation need to be protected. At the current time, people over 65 in residential settings with disabilities are rightly getting vaccinated. Yet worryingly, those living independently in the community and being assisted at home are not.
“This is a real issue. Our members have told us they are very keen to be vaccinated, but are concerned that they will be left waiting. We are incredibly grateful to our frontline staff who are among the many healthcare workers going beyond the call of duty to keep people safe and well.
“With concerns about vaccination supplies growing, we urge the Minister for Health to urgently include people with disabilities on the priority list to ensure their protection,” Michael Doyle, Director of Assisted Living in the Irish Wheelchair Association, said.
The Irish Wheelchair Association supports people with physical disabilities to lead active and independent lives and has 20,000 members.
It is the leading provider of home support for people with physical disabilities in the State, providing 1.3m hours of service to over 1,500 people every week in every part of the country.
The organisation’s frontline workers have been supporting people with physical disabilities in homes across Ireland throughout the Covid-19 crisis, with an emergency response team reaching people who have Covid-19 or have had to isolate.
For further information about Irish Wheelchair Association visit iwa.ie