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Para-athlete Suvarna Raj writes to Delhi CM, seeks vaccination of specially abled at their residences

Raj said that she had been reaching out to hospitals to arrange for vaccination for the community on a priority basis but “they refused as they were not permitted to give vaccines to anyone without an appointment”.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: May 23, 2021 10:42:47 am
International para-athlete Suvarna Raj after receiving the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine in New Delhi. (Photo: Twitter/suvarnapraj)

International para-athlete and disability rights’ activist Suvarna Raj wrote to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Deputy CM Manish Sisodia, Health Minister Satyendar Jain and Social Welfare Minister Rajender Pal Gautam seeking vaccination of specially abled people at their residences.

“The disabled community, including blind people, and those using assistive devices such as wheelchairs, crutches and prosthetics, are more vulnerable to Covid-19 as they have to constantly touch surfaces to move around. Many blind people are also not able to register themselves on the CoWin app. Some even have very severe ailments,” she told The Indian Express.

She added that she had been reaching out to hospitals to arrange for vaccination for the community on a priority basis but “they refused as they were not permitted to give vaccines to anyone without an appointment”.

Raj, who is wheelchair bound and suffers 90 per cent disability due to polio, has been campaigning for the rights of the disabled people for long. In the past, she had highlighted how there were no proper facilities at public places or transports for such people.

In her email-letter, she wrote, “As you know, persons with disabilities are the most marginalized and vulnerable sections of Indian society and have been strongly affected during the Covid-19 pandemic. Also, persons with disabilities are having almost no access to healthcare, no access to health insurance schemes, and no access to public transportation facilities in India. I want to request you for making provision for persons with disabilities above 18 years to be vaccinated for Covid-19 at their home/place of stay. Govt of Tamil Nadu and Govt of Orissa has started doorstep vaccination to People with Disabilities.”

She added, “In light of the above issues, persons with disabilities are also not able to visit the vaccination centres, especially those who are wheelchair users and have more than 80% disability are the most affected sections amongst the persons with disabilities.”

Raj had tweeted the same on May 13, when she got the first dose of the vaccine, tagging the Union Health Ministry and Union Social Welfare Minister Thawarchand Gehlot. “#Vaccinated Got #Covisheild first dose, the process was smooth & accessible. But faced difficulty to get appointment on #CowinPortal. The #CoWin App & Portal are not accessible for the #Divyangjan.@socialpwds @MoHFW_INDIA plz make these #Accessible on a priority basis. @TCGEHLOT.”

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