The Health Ministry said in the ongoing Parliament session that only a little over 4,000 people with disabilities had received both doses of COVID-19 vaccines. The Ministry added that the CoWIN portal shows that 8,390 people with disabilities have taken their first dose. According to the last census of 2011, India is home to 26.8 million people with disabilities. The government document shows over 18 million disabled people in rural India, and only 8.1 million have registered in the urban regions.
14.9 Million Men With Disabilities
The Health Ministry quoted the document titled "Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan) in India- A Statistical Profile: 2021" showing 14.9 million men with disabilities compared to 11.9 million women in the country. Satendra Singh, a physician with a disability who has been involved in a project to understand the inequities in vaccine access, said, "None of the official government circulars mentioned disabled people as vulnerable communities, and our multiple demands to provide at-home vaccination to people with disabilities with high support needs were denied by the Centre, leaving the disabled people behind".
What Does WHO Say?
A study by the International Health watchdog, World Health Organization, mentions that there are more than 1 billion with a disability in the world. Moreover, people with disabilities are disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. When people with disabilities access health care, they often experience stigma and discrimination and receive poor quality services. There is an urgent need to scale up disability inclusion in all health system levels, mainly primary health care. Disability inclusion is critical to achieving better health and well-being because persons with disabilities because four in ten people are likely to experience violence.