Disability Stigma and COVID-19 Response: Impact of Early Resource Allocation Policies and Recommendations for Countering Stigma in Public Health Crisis

Andjela Kaur, Dimity Peter


This paper examines the intersection between disability stigma and early responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. We begin with a key text, the Department of Human Services Office of Civil Right’s Bulletin, the document which provided initial guidance on an inclusive response to crisis, and analyze the central role of disability stigma in the creation of disability-conscious pandemic management. Next, we discuss several early stigma-based resource allocation policies, and note ways that disability stigma negatively affected disabled people at the onset of the pandemic. Finally, we suggest three interventions to reduce disability stigma on an individual, organizational and system level.


Disability stigma, COVID-19, crisis response, countering stigma, social model of disability.

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ISSN: 2454-6623