The Madras High Court had asked the state government to prioritise vaccinating persons with disabilities.

A boy getting vaccinated at home by a team from the corporation
Coronavirus COVID-19 Thursday, May 27, 2021 - 13:52

The Chennai corporation on Saturday kick started its vaccination drive for persons with  disabilities across the 15 zones in the city. Persons with disabilities or their caregivers and parents can call up the helplines 18004250111 and 9700799993 to get a slot for vaccination. For people with severe disabilities who cannot move out of their homes, Chennai Corporation teams comprising doctors and health staff will visit their homes and vaccinate them.  

The drive is a joint effort by the Corporation and the Welfare of the Differently Abled Persons Department of Tamil Nadu. “We have identified about 900 people with severe disabilities who will be home vaccinated. We will map out the locations and our teams will do door-to-door vaccination for this category,” says Vishu Mahajan IAS (DC, Revenue and Finance). Persons with disabilities can also visit any of the 174 Primary Health Centres or Family Health Centres and can get vaccinated without having to stand in a queue. 

Another method is to call up the helplines and register for vaccination. Based on the location of persons, the GCC and the Disability Department will set up special vaccination camps in the locality where these people can visit. The registrations are segregated based on the zones and the zonal authorities are asked to set up camps. While registering, there is also an option to video call on the WhatsApp number. This is for persons with hearing disabilities who can speak to sign language interpreters and fix appointments. 

The department had also held a meeting with doctors, which parents and caregivers attended. “Most times, persons with disabilities are on serious medication or have comorbid conditions, allergies etc. So the parents have a lot of questions before vaccination. For this purpose, the department set up a meeting with doctors to clarify all doubts,” says Smitha Sadasivam, member of Disability Rights Alliance India, an NGO for persons with disabilities.

The teams of health workers and the Corporation only vaccinate persons with disabilities after consent from them or their parents. “We are also increasing awareness and using the government database to reach out to these families and convince them to get vaccinated,” Vishu Mahajan added. The Corporation’s drive to vaccinate persons with disabilities follows a Madras High Court directive to priority the persons with disabilities for vaccination.