The QuadPara Association of South Africa (QASA) is pleading with the health department to include quadriplegics in the second round of the vaccination roll out.
According to QASA’s Chief Operation Officer (COO), Raven Benny, the association wrote to the department twice. In response to the first letter, health authorities asked about the mortality rate among members.
Despite the lack of evidence of deaths, QASA claims there are sufficient reasons to vaccinate their members.
“Will we be turned down because there aren’t enough deaths?”
“How many people must die before we are deemed vulnerable? “We demand that the Department of Health prioritize the risk of death over current mortality rates,” Benny said.
He continues, “After all, are they in the business of saving lives or counting corpses?”
Benny believes that the risk of death, rather than mortality rates, should be the criterion for prioritizing vaccination.
According to the organisation, this will help to prevent deaths among its members and ensure that no one is left behind.
“Many quadriplegics and paraplegics are at a higher risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus,” says Benny, adding that they put themselves at high-risk by pushing their wheelchairs, catheterizing them, or accepting assistance from their caregiver.
“After all, are they in the business of saving lives or counting corpses?” asked Benny.
When quadriplegics and paraplegics get COVID-19, Benny argues, they are at a higher risk of becoming severely ill and being hospitalized.
“We respect medical procedures that place a high value on saving as many lives as possible.”
Instead, we’re pleading with the Department of Health to intervene and save lives. They have the resources to ensure that none of our members are ever put in a scenario where a doctor must choose between saving them and rescuing someone with a stronger immune system. “It’s time for us to be vaccinated.”
“For the most part, social distance from their caregiver, family, or friends is impossible because they require daily, critical help. Although a vaccination will not prevent them from contracting the Coronavirus, it will help them avoid hospital treatment. ”
Many people in the community have co-morbidities like diabetes or high blood pressure, according to Benny, adding that open wounds and urinary tract infections are widespread, putting a strain on an already weakened immune system.
He said spinal cord injury affects quadriplegics and paraplegics’ immune systems and nervous systems, in addition to their limbs, and the immune system is slowed, allowing the infection to propagate more easily.
“We want to keep our members out of the hospital as we believe they aren’t always considered a priority,”
Doctors will do what is best for the most people in a disaster, which may include denying high-risk patient access to a ventilator in order to help others. ” added the COO.