Deaf Zimbabwe Trust has called for the prioritisation of persons with disabilities in the vaccination program saying vaccine drives should deliberately target persons with disabilities in order to ensure no one is left behind.
Speaking during a radio interview, DZT Media and Communications Officer Tinotenda Chikunya said there is need for specific considerations to support equitable vaccine access as persons with disabilities face several barriers on access to health.
“It is important to come up with initiatives that target the disability community as currently health centres may be physically inaccessible”.
“Vaccination centres should be universally accessible and must be located closer to the communities of persons with disabilities to ensure that those with mobility challenges manage to reach the centres”
She added that since the advent of COVID-19 Persons with disabilities have struggled to access information in accessible formats which could also be a barrier to vaccination.
“There are many myths surrounding the vaccine and most People with Disabilities have cited that as the reason for vaccine hesitancy , information should be disseminated in accessible formats which include Sign Language , Braille and easy to read text in order to demystify these myths ”.
“The attitude of family members and caregivers and the need for assistance when moving around can be a barrier when persons with disabilities want to get vaccinated, caregivers may refuse to accompany PWDs to vaccination centres”
Chikunya also highlighted that prioritisation of PWDs at health centres will go a long way in encouraging persons with disabilities to get vaccinated.
She called on government to ensure that health service providers are knowledge on how to assist persons with disabilities and to also consider door to door vaccination in communities of persons with disabilities like Caledonia and Riverside in Glen View 1.
Source: Deaf Zimbabwe Trust