MAB has decided to do whatever we can to end the spread of the virus and mitigate the risk for our staff and those we serve. We will require all new hires to be vaccinated. We will require proof of vaccination before orientation. Starting October 1st 2021, we will require all MAB employees, students, and participants to be vaccinated.
We have compiled a comprehensive list of blindness and low vision resources and services available state-wide, including organizations, access to news and reading materials, access technology, and health and wellness, as well as a list of community-based resources and services.
COVID-19 vaccination locations
The COVID-19 vaccine is safe, effective, and free. Search VaxFinder.mass.gov for vaccination appointments.
- Statement on Vaccine Access for Individuals Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired (March 1, 2021)Downloadable PDF
- Blind and Visually Impaired COVID-19 Resources
- COVID-19 Community Resources
- Up-to-date and accurate information on COVID-19 from the Center for Disease Prevention (CDC) website.
- The Massachusetts Department of Public Health website
- Massachusetts residents can now call 2-1-1 for real-time #COVID19 information, resources, and referrals in multiple languages.
- To receive COVID-19 text message alerts straight to your phone and stay up to date with the latest news + updates from the Commonwealth, Text “COVIDMA” to 888-777
- Information for our Volunteers
The federal government this week announced a new initiative to deliver free at-home COVID tests for people who are blind or low-vision. People can now request the set of two tests through the USPS website.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, advocates including the Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired have been calling on the government and test manufacturers to create more accessible at-home tests, a lifeline for people who are immunocompromised or especially vulnerable to COVID-19.
Advocates say people who live alone and may not have a family member to help administer a test and read results, or who can’t safely get to a testing site were left without many options for at-home testing.
The new accessible tests work through Bluetooth to provide audible step-by-step instructions on how to take the test, and will provide audio test results. Users will have to download an app from Ellume onto their smartphone.
“Many people work[ed] hard to get this issue the attention it needs and I’m glad accountability is in action,” said Sassy Outwater-Wright, executive director of the Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired. “We have more to do to make testing accessible and equitable, but the work is beginning,” READ MORE
But while the distribution may help people who have struggled to acquire rapid tests, it’s not a solution for everyone. For some — those who are blind or low-vision, are elderly, have issues with physical dexterity or have cognitive disabilities — the tests are difficult or impossible to use independently. Their options: not take a home test, risk exposing someone else to the virus to help administer the test or make a trip to a testing center, potentially exposing themselves further.
For many people who are immunocompromised or vulnerable, at-home tests can be a lifeline. So as the omicron variant continues to fuel high COVID-19 case counts, groups across the country, including in Massachusetts, are advocating for companies and the government to make the tests accessible. READ MORE
Vital Coronavirus Information Is Failing the Blind and Visually Impaired
When it comes to communicating crucial updates around the pandemic, blind readers are an afterthought.
By Melanie Ehrenkranz
Apr 9 2020, 8:24am Several times a day, I search for coronavirus updates online, an increasingly grim and unconscious habit I’ve adopted over the last few weeks from the confines of my New York City apartment. I’m met with a barrage of charts, infographics, and transcripts of news conferences. I’m able to grasp the harrowing reality we’re in with just a few clicks. But for the blind and visually impaired communities, information from the government and news sources remains largely inaccessible, and in the midst of a global pandemic, this isn’t merely an inconvenience, it’s a fatal negligence…
Coping with disease and disability in the time of coronavirus
By Ryan Prior, CNN
Updated 11:33 AM ET, Wed April 8, 2020
(CNN) Sassy Outwater-Wright has fought off cancer three times in the last 33 years, losing most of her eyesight to a rare form of the disease at the age of three.