Have we forgotten disabled people again?
Boris Johnson announced that all Covid-19 restrictions will end on the 24th of February, including the isolation period for people who have tested positive for Covid-19. And by the 1st of April, free Covid-19 tests will be scrapped, except for over 75s and the immunosuppressed, if they have symptoms. Some have praised this change, citing a need to move on with our lives and learn to live with the virus.
However, there are still disabled people, both adults and children, who are extremely vulnerable to Covid-19. While they’ve had years to build up an immunity to colds and the flu, those can still pose a risk to some disabled people. So Covid-19, which their bodies haven’t had much time to build immunity to, is still a potentially deadly virus to them.
Clinically Extremely Vulnerable people no longer have government aid to help protect them against the virus. They are not a priority for home-delivered groceries, they cannot get prescriptions delivered for free, and accessing healthcare safely is still a huge concern, particularly for those who rely on public transport.
And while they will have free covid tests, if they have symptoms, their family and friends may not. Meaning that those visiting them may unknowingly pass Covid-19 onto them.
When Covid-19 testing ends, doctors will not know if they are passing the virus onto their vulnerable patients. Family members will not know if they are putting their loved ones at risk. And disabled people will not be able to see daily statistics on the covid rates in their area so they can keep themselves informed on how safe it is for them to go out.
We must do better. We must remember those who are extremely vulnerable, even after vaccines, and ensure that we keep them safe.
Hannah Murgatroyd, Equal Lives Volunteer