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B.C.'s Blind community should receive COVID vaccine priority: advocate

Last Updated May 10, 2021 at 9:50 am PDT

(CityNews photo)

Donavon Tillsley said the visually impaired need to be vaccinated as quickly as possible

Getting to work, going to the grocery store, there's no way to "know if people are practicing proper mask etiquette"

A letter advocating for change has been written to the province

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – An advocate for the blind is calling for B.C.’s visually impaired population to be made a priority to receive the COVID-19 vaccination.

Donovan Tildesley said the visually impaired can face challenges every day — from getting to work, to just getting to the grocery store — so they need to be vaccinated as quickly as possible.

“You’re a lot closer to people and you really have no way of knowing if the people around you are practicing proper mask etiquette,” he said.

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“Getting around partitions and plexiglass, and needing assistance, say to grab somebody’s elbow to maneuver around, kind of puts you in higher risk.”

Arguing it wouldn’t take any more resources for visually impaired folks to receive their vaccines, Tildesley said it’s a small number of people they would need to prioritize.

“When you look at people in this province who don’t have vision, or have low vision, it’s a limited number of people. We’re looking at maybe 500 people tops,” he said.

A letter advocating for the change in schedule has been written to the province by the B.C. Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons, however, the province has said the priority list won’t change.