January 3, 2022
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President:
On December 2, 2021, you announced a new plan to expand free at-home COVID-19 testing for all Americans. The National Federation of the Blind, the nation’s transformative civil rights organization of the blind, encourages your administration to ensure that these at-home tests, as well as the processes in order to receive them, are accessible to all.
We applaud you for acting swiftly and decisively during this health crisis, but we are still worried that inaccessibility will prevent millions of Americans from proactively protecting their health and preventing the spread of COVID-19. The blind have already faced many barriers during the pandemic, including inaccessible websites and drive-through-only testing sites, and these experiences reinforce the urgency of your administration addressing accessibility now. If we know today that there will be accessibility issues, we can work with your administration to identify what accommodations and innovations will need to be made in order to ensure equal access for all Americans. In these unprecedented times, it is of the utmost importance that any website used to request a COVID-19 test be nonvisually accessible. In addition, we want to make sure that blind people are able to access the community centers distributing these tests and be able to take the tests in their homes independently. This is an opportunity for the administration to work collaboratively with us and with test manufacturers to create innovative solutions that will serve blind and low-vision people not only during this pandemic, but with other home healthcare needs going forward.
It is vital to bring accessibility to the forefront of all public health policy, and we look forward to working with the appropriate contact to ensure that this is the case for this COVID-19 health plan and for all others going forward. The National Federation of the Blind is eager to serve as the vehicle for blind people to get accurate, up-to-date information about new COVID regulations and updates coming from your administration. We stand ready to act, as a partner, in order to make certain that the website to request these tests is accessible, as well as the tests themselves.
We eagerly await your reply so we can inform our thousands of members who are interested in having equal access to this initiative. We stand ready to serve as your partner in these efforts to protect Americans from this virus.
Mark A. Riccobono, President
National Federation of the Blind