COVID-19 Story Tip: Expanded Dashboard Tool Ranks Accessibility of State Vaccine Websites
The Johns Hopkins Disability Health Research Center has updated the COVID-19 Vaccine Prioritization Dashboard, a tool to help people with disabilities get vaccinated and arm advocates and policymakers with data to improve the disability community’s inclusion in the vaccination effort.
The tool will now include accessible data visualizations to expand on the recently launched effort to help people with disabilities determine when they qualify for the COVID-19 vaccine. The visualizations also show how different states prioritize the disability community in the vaccine rollout.
One of the many barriers to vaccination for people with disabilities is the lack of accessibility to information. Often state websites rely on charts and tables to present information, making it difficult or impossible for people with vision impairments and other disabilities to comprehend or use.
The dashboard will now track the accessibility of state and U.S. territory COVID-19 vaccine information and registration websites, and will update that information weekly. Currently according to the tool, the five states with the most accessible sites for vaccine information are Minnesota, Maryland, Kansas, Louisiana and California. The most accessible states for vaccine registration are Nevada, California, Massachusetts, Indiana and Virginia.
Bonnielin Swenor, Ph.D., M.P.H., director of the Johns Hopkins Disability Health Research Center and associate professor of ophthalmology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, leads the dashboard project.
“Since we began tracking COVID-19 vaccine website accessibility just a few weeks ago, there have been improvements, but many issues remain,” says Swenor. “The majority of U.S. state and territory COVID-19 vaccine websites have over 100 accessibility errors, which is an error rate that is sure to prevent many people with disabilities from accessing the vaccine.”
The work is supported by the American Association of People with Disabilities. Collaborators include the Center for Dignity in Healthcare for People with Disabilities — a national coalition of medical care providers, researchers, ethicists, and people with disabilities and their family members — and WebAIM, a nonprofit group at Utah State University that empowers individuals and organizations to create web content that is accessible to the disability community.
Swenor is available for interviews.