Booster jabs: Why are a number of disabled people in Wales struggling to get them?

  • Watch the report by Charanpreet Khaira

A number of disabled people in Wales say they've been struggling to get their booster jabs because of extra provisions needed for their appointments.

This has led to some taking the decision to shield alone over Christmas because of the fear of catching Covid. Emma Stapleton has spina bifida, in addition to other health conditions which make her more vulnerable to Covid-19.

Emma has spina bifida, a condition that affects the spine and is a type of neural tube defect. Credit: ITV Wales

She has been suffering with "daily panic attacks and stress headaches" due to not being able to get her booster jab, after being told she will need her booster at a specialist allergy clinic.  

She said, "It's been a complete disaster to be honest. I went along, sat down and the lady kept having to go off and speak to different people and when she came back she said had I ever been to an allergy clinic before? And I said no.

"It's now the eleventh of January, I was going to be going up to Nottingham to see my parents but it's not possible, it's not safe so basically it's Christmas alone in Cardiff."

Disability Wales strives to achieve rights, equality and independent living of disabled people in Wales.s Credit: ITV Wales

Alex Osborne is an Information Officer at Disability Wales. She says she has been hearing negative experiences from many disabled people in Wales about getting a booster.

She explained, "There's people not able to park by the booster and obviously a lot of our members can't walk the distance.

"We've also had issues with people having to rely on public transport for living in rural areas and nothing's been put in place to have the space for people that need to sit.

Alex continued saying that the impact of those unable to access their booster is "affecting their mental health a lot."

She said, "Obviously this is a lot of people that spent the last nearly two years isolated and shielding and they've been looking forward to seeing some family members.

"I think a lot of them would feel better if they'd had the booster to just have a little bit of extra protection."

A booster dose of the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine helps improve the protection you have from your first 2 doses of the vaccine. Credit: ITV Wales

A spokesperson for Cardiff and Vale University Health Board said, "We need to ensure that we deliver the vaccination in the most clinically appropriate environment following consideration by clinical experts, to ensure the safety of the individual receiving the vaccine when there a significant history of allergies.

"As a Health Board we have put a number of initiatives in place to ensure we can overcome any accessibility issues at our Mass Vaccination Centres, and work closely with partners across Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan to ensure our vaccination sites are accessible to everyone.

"We have supported the needs of our community by vaccinating all those eligible in a variety of different settings including our Mass Vaccination Centres, GP practices and community pharmacies.

"If anyone is unable to attend elsewhere our Mobile Vaccination team have vaccinated people in their homes. If anyone has any concerns or questions about accessibility we encourage you to please contact us."

Meanwhile, the health minister says boosters are the best defence available for anyone who’s vulnerable to Covid.

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