September 15, 2020
WASHINGTON--The National Council on Disability (NCD) recently submitted recommendations to the National Academies regarding potential distribution plans for a COVID-19 vaccine.
The input for the discussion draft of the preliminary framework for equitable allocation of COVID-19 vaccine, is part of a study commissioned by the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Its purpose is to recommend priorities to inform allocation of a limited initial supply of COVID-19 vaccine, taking into account factors such as racial/ethnic inequities and groups at higher risk from COVID-19 due to health status, occupation, or living conditions.
NCD commented that the framework should include a clear statement that people with disabilities have a federally protected right to equally access healthcare, citing that this is a necessary part of the framework to help prevent further discrimination in COVID-19 care.
The pandemic struck the U.S. just months after NCD published a report series on bioethics and disability which described the longstanding healthcare discrimination experienced by people with disabilities.
NCD commented that the framework should make clear that under federal law, policies and frameworks for providing the vaccine must not discriminate against people with disabilities.
NCD made a number of additional recommendations aimed to help make the final framework one that recognizes the healthcare inequities experienced by people with disabilities and ensures that the most vulnerable are included in Phase 1 of the COVID-19 vaccinations.