IMPACT: Five New York state and local government agencies agreed to fix covid-19 vaccine websites to make them accessible for blind users following a @TheJusticeDept investigation spurred by our @KHNews story

W/ the relentless @hannah_recht

Our update:…
As Bryan Bashin told me amid the vaccine race of the winter, he had appointments slip away twice in the same day while he battled inaccessible websites.

"It’s an awful bit of discrimination, one as stinging as anything I’ve experienced,” Bashin, who is blind, said.
.@AccessBoard @sdpavithran said he knew @thejusticedept had investigations in progress in other states

@AndyDRC , a member of the White House’s COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force, said their report will likely call for an outside evaluation of access issues in the covid response
“The story that published had an impact across the country,” @AndyDRC said.

“It was very specific, it was very detailed, and it was hard to ignore. I think it was incredibly helpful.”
.@NFB_voice is pushing a legislative fix to codify online accessibility rights, but @crachfal said it can be done without Congress

“What’s needed is some leadership from the administration & @TheJusticeDept to promulgate regulations that they already have the authority to do”
As blind accessibility lawyer Albert Elia put it:

“I hope the general public realizes that to cut people out of online access is effectively cutting them out of life.”

#a11y @KHNews…

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More from @LaurenWeberHP

26 Mar
Kyunghee Lee noticed her doctor's office had moved up a floor when she went to get her usual arthritis shots.

It was the same doctor, same shots, same time.

But it cost 10 times more.

Welcome to the "facility fee."

@KHNews @npratc #BilloftheMonth…
The increasingly controversial charge — basically a room rental fee — comes without warning

“It’s the same physician office it was, operating in exactly the same way, doing exactly the same services — but the hospital chooses to attach a facility fee to it” @TrishRiley207 said
Facility fees are one reason hospital prices are rising faster than physician prices.

There is some state legislation to combat the rising phenomenon, but it’s difficult to fight powerful hospital lobbyists in a pandemic political climate.
Read 6 tweets
26 Mar
Missourians have driven hours to find vaccines in rural counties. Doses are still slowly being rolled out in a federal long-term care program. Black residents are getting left behind.

Here's what went wrong in Missouri's vaccine rollout.
#moleg @KHNews…
If Missouri were on par with the national rate of vaccinations, that would be roughly equivalent to more than 162,000 additional people vaccinated, or almost the entire population of the city of Springfield.

Instead, MO is in the bottom of states for its rocky rollout.
The former director of the St. Louis health department put it simply:

“You get what we pay for."

Our 2020 @AP @KHNews #UnderfundedUnderThreat investigation found that Missouri public health staffing at the state level had fallen 8% from 2010 to 2019, a loss of 106 employees.
Read 15 tweets
24 Mar
Dr. Deborah Birx has joined an air-cleaning company that built its business, in part, on technology that is now banned in California due to health hazards.

At stake? Some of the $193 billion in federal funding to schools.

From @By_CJewett and me:…
The company’s own studies show that, in its effort to create the “healthiest indoor environments in North America,” it leveraged something less impressive: the disinfecting power of ozone — a molecule considered hazardous and linked to the onset and worsening of asthma.
In an interview with @KHNews , CEO Joe Urso acknowledged that ActivePure's air cleaners that emit ozone account for 5% of sales, even though its marketing repeatedly claims “no chemicals or ozone.”

"It is very confusing,” he said.
Read 11 tweets
25 Feb
INVESTIGATION: Covid vaccination registration websites at the federal, state and local levels violate disability rights laws, hindering the ability of blind people to sign up for lifesaving vaccine.

Even @CDCgov 's embattled VAMS system is inaccessible.…
As @hannah_recht and I found:

🚨 In at least 7 states, blind residents were unable to register for the vaccine without help
🚨 94 covid info and vaccine pages from the states had accessibility issues @webaim found
🚨 Phone alternatives were not available or had too long of lines
When blind people use the internet, they have software called screen readers read the text aloud to them.

If websites are not programmed properly, the software cannot read them aloud -- leaving blind people unable to register for #COVID19 vaccines.
Read 13 tweets
16 Jan
🚨🚨🚨 Black Americans are receiving covid vaccinations at dramatically lower rates than white Americans, according to our new @KHNews data analysis on the rollout

“We are missing the boat on equity” @MarcusPlescia @ASTHO said

From @hannah_recht and me:…
If the rollout were reaching people of all races equally, the shares of people vaccinated whose race is known should loosely align with the demographics of health care workers.

But in every state, Black Americans were significantly underrepresented among people vaccinated
Meanwhile, Black, Hispanic and Native Americans are dying from Covid at nearly three times the rate of white Americans, according to @CDCgov .

And Black and Asian health care workers are more likely to contract Covid and to die from it than white workers.
Read 12 tweets
15 Jan
🚨 Only 1/4 of the doses allocated to the CVS/Walgreens partnership to vaccinate nursing home residents have been administered.

Mississippi's state public health officer @TCBPubHealth says it's a "fiasco."

@RachelHBluth and me w/ @rachanadixit @KHNews…
Scheduling, paperwork, staffing -- all of it is slowing down the latest privatization of the federal #COVID19 response for the nation's most vulnerable.

“There should never be an excuse about people not getting vaccinated. There’s no excuse for delays," @wassdoc said.
In Illionois, about 12,000 of the state’s roughly 55,000 nursing home residents have received their first dose.

West Virginia has finished its first round after ditching the CVS/Walgreens partnership altogether.
Read 4 tweets

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