The Unique Disability Identification (UDID) number given to people with disabilities in New Delhi can now be used to register for vaccinations.
This is being applauded by people with disabilities and advocates as a step to further facilitate vaccination for this population.
In April, amid concerns raised by Delhi-based National Federation of Blind about people with disabilities waiting in long lines for testing, vaccination and treatment for Covid-19 induced illnesses, the department of empowerment of persons with disabilities (DEPwD) asked for prioritisation and unique accommodations. In a letter to the ministry of health and family welfare, DEPwD had cited provisions of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016 which mandates priority in attendance and treatment of people with disabilities.
As of June 7, the number of people with disabilities holding UDID cards stands at 55.82. The unique ID is issued through a centralised portal under the department of empowerment of persons with disabilities of the ministry of social justice and empowerment.
The UDID number has all the required information such as the name, birthdate, gender, and photograph of the person. The ministry of health stated that changes will be made in Co-Win system to allow the UDID card number to be entered for registration of the COVID-19 vaccination.
While people with disabilities can already register using other designated IDs, the addition of UDID to the list also opens the potential for the government to collect data on people with disabilities who received vaccinations.
With no pre-existing database of people with disabilities, the government’s UDID project was designed to develop a centralised database by verifying all those who apply with their disability certificates on the central portal. Legacy data on disability certificates issued by states shows 1.66 crore and out of these about 10 lakh have been verified by states to enable UDID numbers to be issued. Moreover, according to the 2011 Census there were 2.68 crore people with disabilities.
DEPwD officials explained that for migration of existing legacy data, the data needs to be provided by states/UTs in the desired format of the portal and submitted to DEPwD after getting it verified and approved from their respective health departments. This process takes a great deal of time and the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed it down as well.
However, the DEPwD has set a target of reaching overall coverage of 65 lakh by the end of this year and 80 lakhs by mid next year. Also from June 1, all disability certificates will be issued across states and UTs online, enabling generation of UDID numbers for each verified certificate soon after through the centralised portal.