SENT VIA EMAIL
January 27, 2022
Principal Deputy Administrator
Administration for Community Living
US Department of Health and Human Services
330 C Street SW
Washington, DC 20201
RE: Accessible at-home COVID-19 test kits for blind Americans
Dear Administrator Barkoff:
The National Federation of the Blind, the nation’s transformative civil rights organization of the blind, applauds the Administration for Community Living’s work to engage stakeholders and publicize resources that individuals with disabilities can use to order federally provided at-home COVID-19 test kits, but it is our understanding that with over 420 million tests already under contract, the Biden administration has not yet procured accessible at-home testing solutions for the blind. We seek your collaboration in changing this trajectory and demanding that The White House make the distribution of accessible at-home COVID-19 test kits for blind Americans a priority.
As we stressed in our recent letters to The President, Commissioner Woodcock, and Director Tabak1, the National Federation of the Blind stands ready to partner with the Biden administration in innovating and evaluating accessible at-home testing solutions. It is critical that blind Americans have full and equal access to COVID-19 test kit instructions and results. We seek the same access as our sighted neighbors to these potentially life-saving tests.
The National Federation of the Blind has been fielding calls from blind Americans and attempting to do what we can to help. For example, we have initiated a partnership to enable blind individuals to get video assistance on their smart phones to self-administer at-home tests. This is an expense to the blind community that other Americans are not expected to provide. This is not equal access.
It is vital that we bring accessibility to the forefront of the COVID-19 public health crisis and that federally provided at-home COVID-19 test kits be usable by blind Americans. We have been waiting for over three weeks to do this time-sensitive work in partnership with the Biden administration and await your prompt response as to next steps.
Mark A. Riccobono, President
National Federation of the Blind
Xavier Becerra, Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services, [email protected]
Lawrence Tabak, Acting Director, National Institutes of Health, [email protected]
Emily Voorde, White House Office of Public Engagement, [email protected]
1. https://nfb.org/programs-services/advocacy/policy-statements/letter-regarding-accessibility-home-covid-19-tests-and, https://nfb.org/programs-services/advocacy/policy-statements/letter-fda-commissioner-regarding-accessibility-home, and https://nfb.org/programs-services/advocacy/policy-statements/letter-nih-director-regarding-accessible-home-covid-19.