Fair access to vaccine is essential

Vaccination is key to tackle the Covid-19 crisis, which has seen 170 million people infected worldwide. Humanity & Inclusion deplores the unequal access to vaccine between rich and low-income countries, and promotes universal and equitable access to the Covid-19 vaccine. 

More than 82% of the world’s vaccine doses have gone to affluent countries. Just 0.3% have gone to low-income countries, according to United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

Federal governments should meet their commitment to the global collaboration — launched by WHO and partners in late April 2020 to accelerate the development, production and equitable access to Covid-19 tests, treatments and vaccines. Countries should donate a portion of their own vaccine supplies to help rectify inequity in global distribution between richer and poorer countries. 

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Prioritizing people with disabilities 

People with disabilities — who represent 15% of the global population are particularly at-risk of Covid-19 and face significant barriers in accessing health information and services. 80% of people with disabilities in the world live in poverty, and they are often isolated or rejected by their communities. 

In many countries, people with disabilities cannot access health facilities because of inaccessible buildings, unavailable medical equipment, high costs, inaccessible transport to and from the health facilities and other barriers.

Some people with disabilities face challenges in learning about the pandemic because public health information is rarely adapted and accessible. For example, a radio awareness campaign will not be accessible for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. People who are blind or living with low vision will not be able to access information in brochures written in inaccessible formats. 

The roll-out of vaccine campaigns, related planning and policy-making, should be organized with the involvement of people with disabilities and their representative organizations to ensure vaccination campaigns are inclusive and accessible.

Humanity & Inclusion's Covid-19 pandemic response

Since March 2020, Humanity & Inclusion teams have adapted their activities to the Covid-19 health crisis, supporting 2.2 million people in 46 countries. That work includes:

  • Risk awareness and prevention education sessions that have reached 1.6 million people
  • Distribution of 138,000 hygiene kits and 800,000 masks
  • Food assistance to nearly 7,000 people
  • Psychosocial support for 225,000 people
  • Transportation of 4,000 m3 of emergency material

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Image: An outreach officer uses an awareness image box on Covid-19 in Bangui, Central African Republic, November 19, 2020. As part of the activities of the Synergies project, people with disabilities have been informed about the virus and preventative measures by their peers through the network of organizations of people with disabilities. Copyright: A. Surprenant/HI