Irish Wheelchair Association has said that people with disabilities must be categorised high risk to Covid as the Government considers revisions to the vaccine priority list this week.

Currently, people with disabilities do not appear on the vaccination priority list, despite many being at severe risk due to underlying conditions.

Rosemary Keogh, CEO of Irish Wheelchair Association said: “The vaccination priority list exists to protect people in society who have an increased vulnerability to Covid. People with disabilities are clearly at severe risk of serious complications if they contract Covid, as many have underlying health conditions related to their disability.

“As the Government prepares to agree revisions to the vaccination list this week, we are urging them to hear the concerns of people with disabilities, who have been confined to their homes in fear of contracting Covid since this devastating pandemic began. Disability can come with a range of health conditions and we need the Government to understand that in revising the list.

“Currently, people over 65 in residential settings with disabilities have been rightly getting vaccinated. Yet those living independently in the community and being supported by homecare workers are not. While we welcome the Government’s commitment to vaccinating frontline workers in the disability sector who are doing all they can to keep people safe, both sides of the equation need vaccinations to ensure everyone is protected.

“The Government must prioritise people with disabilities for vaccines, as they are among the most vulnerable to Covid in Ireland.”

Irish Wheelchair Association is Ireland’s largest organisation supporting people with physical disabilities to lead active and independent lives and has 20,000 members. It is the leading provider of home support for people with physical disabilities in the State, providing 1.3m hours of service to 1,500 people every week in every part of the country.

The organisation’s frontline workers have been supporting people with physical disabilities in homes across Ireland throughout the COVID-19 crisis, with an emergency response team reaching people who have Covid-19 or have had to isolate.