Inclusion Winnipeg has joined a national effort to push for people who have an intellectual disability to be a priority for the COVID-19 vaccine.
The organization, formerly known as Community Living Winnipeg, has joined Inclusion Canada and the International Disability Alliance to advocate for people with intellectual disabilities, as well as their families and support staff, to get ahead in the line for the vaccine.
Janet Forbes, Inclusion Winnipeg’s executive director, said people with intellectual disabilities are also facing extra barriers during the pandemic.
"Many rely on assistance, have no credit card, have no internet, and are at a greater risk of contracting COVID-19," she said in a statement.
"This, coupled with congregate living arrangements, a reliance on outside support and pre-existing health conditions, further increases infection risk."
Forbes said while they are pleased the province has decided to prioritize support staff of people with intellectual disabilities for early vaccinations, they want the province to go further.
Inclusion Canada said international studies have shown people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are more susceptible to the virus than the general population; and people with Down syndrome are 10 times more likely to die from the virus and five times more likely to be hospitalized.
Inclusion Canada said other countries, including the United Kingdom and Australia, have already prioritized people living with disabilities in the first phase of the rollout of the vaccine.
"Canada needs to do so now."
Kevin Rollason is one of the more versatile reporters at the Winnipeg Free Press. Whether it is covering city hall, the law courts, or general reporting, Rollason can be counted on to not only answer the 5 Ws — Who, What, When, Where and Why — but to do it in an interesting and accessible way for readers.