Wheelchair user calls for those with disabilities to be prioritised in vaccine rollout

Wheelchair user calls for those with disabilities to be prioritised in vaccine rollout

A Cork-based Irish Wheelchair Association (IWA) member has called on the Government to prioritise those with disabilities in the rollout of the vaccination programme. Photo: Nick Potts/PA Wire

A Cork-based Irish Wheelchair Association (IWA) member has called on the Government to prioritise those with disabilities in the rollout of the vaccination programme.

Christine Dinneen, who has been a member of the IWA for over five years, highlighted the importance of people with disabilities receiving the vaccine in a timely manner as many have been confined to their homes since the beginning of the pandemic.

“People that have visible disabilities also have serious underlying health conditions and would be at severe risk of contracting Covid-19.

93% of people who died with Covid-19 had underlying conditions. That's a frightening statistic and I think that’s enough reason to vaccinate vulnerable groups as soon as possible.

Ms Dinneen said she is lucky to be living with her husband and her son but said that there are days when she misses everything about her life pre-Covid.

She said that she misses attending the IWA’s day care centre where members would take part in courses, meet others and have the opportunity to make friends with like-minded people.

“It was so lovely to have those social contacts that you need really but with all these lockdowns now we can’t do the things we did before so we have been missing out on that.

“To be honest I’ve been indoors since the pandemic began, I haven't been in a shop or a supermarket so I’m missing the browsing and going to the day care centre to meet people, anything that I could do was taken away basically and you feel very frustrated really.

I’m lucky that I have my husband and my son at home with me so I’m not completely alone but I really miss everything.

Ms Dinneen said that the family takes extra precaution by having their groceries delivered as her husband, at the age of 65, is also at risk of contracting the virus and her son has a disability also.

“If my husband got sick himself we’d be worried about him and he's my carer and he looks after my son as well so we would be lost without him so he hasn’t been in the shops either, we get the shopping delivered,” she said.

She called on the Government to prioritise those most vulnerable who have been isolated from the rest of society since the beginning of the pandemic last March and said that there are “a lot of other people of different ages with underlying conditions who should be prioritised also”.

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