Social Affairs Minister Tri Rismaharini revealed persons with disabilities were among the priority groups to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The Ministry targeted 564,000 persons with disabilities to get their jabs by the end of this year. She added that achieving this target was not an easy task, especially with the lack of information and understanding regarding the vaccine benefits.
“As they still need the assistance of others, we must pay attention to this. They also have problems accessing health services, and some have a decrease in income due to the pandemic,” said Risma in a UGM and Kagama webinar “Vaccination for Persons with Disabilities” on Friday (2/7).
Angkie Yudistia, Special Staff to the President, who is also a hard of hearing person, said many people with disabilities were reluctant to participate in the vaccination program due to massive misinformation. According to her, the number of persons with disabilities in Indonesia in 2020 is around 38 million, with West Java being the largest (8 million). She encouraged synergy and cooperation from all parties of regional governments, the private sector, and organizations to convince and educate them about vaccine benefits.
“They need education from all parties that the vaccine is safe and halal,” said Angkie.
Coordinator of the Presidential Special Staff and Secretary-General of Kagama (UGM Alumni Association) Ari Dwipayana said President Joko Widodo targeted 181 million people or 70 percent of the total population at a minimum to receive their jabs by the end of this year. As of June, 29 million people had received their first dose, and 13 million had their second jabs already. Ari said the central government cooperated with many parties, including local governments and business entities, to accelerate this program. Apart from persons with disabilities, those included within priority groups were health workers, the elderly, public employees, children over 12 years old, and pregnant women.
“We need about 426.8 doses of vaccine. In July, there should be 1 million people vaccinated every day and 2 million in August,” said Ari.
Dean of the UGM Faculty of Medicine Professor Ova Emilia said persons with disabilities were among the vulnerable groups and at high risk of being exposed to COVID-19. It was challenging to implement social distancing because their activities require the help of others.
“The lack of mitigation and obstacles to accessing health services make them vulnerable to COVID-19. They should be prioritized to get the vaccine,” said Ova.
Yuli Kusumastuti Putri, Head of Health Service Division of Yogyakarta Provincial Health Office, said more than 300 persons with disabilities in Yogyakarta had received their shots in mid-June. Based on this event, she evaluated that the government or program organizers must provide many personnel, wheelchairs, accessible transportation, and a spacious place to facilitate persons with disabilities with more accessible and comfortable vaccination services.
Author: Gusti Grehenson