We at the Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB), Fighting Blindness Canada, and the International Federation on Ageing ask for your support on behalf of the over 1.5 million Canadians who are blind, deaf-blind, and partially-sighted and who are experiencing special challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We believe that people living with vision loss should be given a priority position, close behind our heroic first responders and vulnerable seniors, to be vaccinated against COVID-19. People living with vision loss are members of a vulnerable community and have been living with economic, social, and emotional stress since even before this pandemic.
The CCB recently conducted a survey asking those living with vision loss to report the effect of the pandemic on their daily lives. The survey’s results were summarized in the report The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Canadians Who Are Blind, Deaf-Blind, and Partially-Sighted.
The results of the survey’s 572 respondents revealed the existence of high levels of stress, anxiety, fear, and even depression. When asked to describe the pandemic’s impact on their lives, one respondent expressed the difficulties they were experiencing as follows:
What is affecting my mental health is this prolonged and extreme isolation. As a blind person I already live a fairly limited life when referring to freedom of movement and independence and now even that small wedge of my active life has been completely eradicated.
We request your help in relieving the burdens and stress resulting from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on people with vision loss. We ask the government to review their situation and to strategize on how this community can be given priority access to the vaccine. Timely action is essential.
President & CEO, Fighting Blindness Canada
Dr. Jane Barratt
Secretary General, International Federation on Ageing
President, Canadian Council of the Blind