Thursday, July 18, 2024

Better support for disabled vaccinations

A new tool that supports disabled people to get vaccinated against COVID-19 was launched today as the country gets closer to reaching the 90% vaccination milestone.

Minister for Disability Issues, Carmel Sepuloni said the Manaakitanga Journey is a graphic online tool that packages up key information on the Unite Against COVID-19 website such as how to book New Zealand Sign Language interpreters at clinics, and how to arrange transport to and from your vaccination appointment.

“Getting a vaccination is the best thing you can do to protect yourself and your community – and we want all New Zealanders to have the right support to get the job done,” Ms Sepuloni said.

“That’s why we’ve been working with the disability sector and community, Office for Disability Issues, the Ministry of Health and DHBs to develop services and information that ensures disabled people are aware of their eligibility in the vaccine programme.

“Deciding whether to be vaccinated, finding the most appropriate site and place to be vaccinated at and who to contact if you need transport, are all key parts of the journey that can often affect disabled people’s experiences. This makes that process easier.”

One in four New Zealanders identify as disabled or having an impairment. As of the 27th of October, of the 30,522 people supported by the Ministry of Health’s Disability Supports Services nationwide, 82% have had their first dose, and 67% have been fully vaccinated.

“The vaccination programme aims to be inclusive and accessible to all New Zealanders so that all people have the opportunity and access to a vaccination site. DHBs and local providers are really committed to getting it right for disabled people to ensure they can access the vaccine in a way that meets their needs in their local area.”

“We’re continuing that momentum with the launch of a disability-specific part of the Unite Against COVID-19 website, which will be updated weekly with Super Accessible sites and centres for disabled people to get vaccinated at across the motu,” the Minister said.

The Unite Against COVID-19 website will also contain consolidated information specifically for disabled people and those who have underlying health conditions, such as supported decision making, a list of accessible vaccination centres near you, arranging transport and information in alternative formats.

“I believe The Manaakitanga Journey captures the essence and importance of removing barriers to vaccination for disabled people, making it more accessible and inclusive, and as we continue to protect and look out for all New Zealanders,” Ms Sepuloni said.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern visited the Hutt Valley COVID-19 Community Vaccination Centre today to support their work as a super accessible clinic for disabled New Zealanders.

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