Persons with disabilities are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19!



Since the Covid began, everyone has been facing the wrath of it. People are becoming helpless and the country is struggling for better management. One of the major problems that most of us are facing is getting vaccinated. In the wake of the same, an international para-athlete has written a letter to the Chief Minister of Haryana to prioritise Covid vaccination for the disabled.


Devershee Sachan, 25, a resident of Sector 9 in Gurugram, is having a genetic disability (locomotor disability). He is pursuing interior designing. Apart from that, he is a para-athlete who won the national gold medal four consecutive times ( 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021). He has also represented India in the 2018 Para Asian games. Sachan is currently working as a corona frontline warrior and also preparing for future tournaments.


On May 24, he wrote a letter to the CM of Haryana saying, “People with disabilities are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, both directly because of infection, and indirectly because of restrictions to reduce the spread of the virus. People with disabilities are a diverse group, and the risks, barriers and impacts faced by them vary in different contexts according to, among other factors, their age, gender identity, type of disability.”


“The disabled people are at greater risk of contracting COVID-19 due to barriers in implementing basic hygiene measures; for example, hand basins, sinks or water pumps for handwashing. They also face difficulty in enacting physical distancing; this is especially relevant for people who require physical assistance and/or are living in residential institutions which may have the added challenges of staff shortages and infection control,” he mentioned in the letter.


“I urged the CM to prioritise persons with disability for the vaccination process and slots as it will not only help them to fight Covid-19 as well as it is beneficial for every other living being who was taking care of them. I also made a suggestion. I have seen the vaccination drive-through system in gurugram, it impressed me a lot, I think it will be a game-changer for the vaccination drive. Being an international para-athlete, Indian Redcross Society’s life member and Haryana State Council for child welfare - life member, I will be there to assist to make the vaccination drive for people with disability successful.”


He also said that he has been observing vaccination drives from the start and was delighted to see the drive-through system of vaccination. But adding to this note further, he tried to ask people about this in which major challenges were faced by the elderly and specially-abled ones (including blind, deaf, and mentally retardant).


Sachan said, “I got the mail reply from the Chief Minister in which he asked me to make a list of the disabled people who are struggling for vaccination. Today I sent them a list of 30 disabled people from all over Gurugram. Most of them are aged between 29 - 35 years and the main problems are crowd related.


Some of them have to wait for hours and it's really difficult for them. Major issues are related to hygiene, social distancing (major for wheelchair users), and not accessible washrooms. Yesterday, I had an appointment for the vaccination at Sector 10 government hospital in Gurugram, but I refused to go and get vaccinated because l fear if I got vaccinated today it would be a difficult task to go and inspect if everything is going well.”

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