People with disabilities in Vietnam get COVID-19 vaccine-related information

People with disabilities in Vietnam get COVID-19 vaccine-related information

More than 130 People with Disabilities (PwD) in Vietnam attended an unprecedented series of online information sessions to explore knowledge about COVID-19 vaccines and vaccination safety.

Hanoi Independent Living Center and The Association of People with Disabilities in Ha Nam province have coordinated with RMIT University Vietnam to organise an ongoing series of information sessions titled "Consultation on accessing COVID-19 vaccine information and vaccination safety for people and children with disabilities."

With the current acceleration of vaccination from the effort of the government, the vaccination rate among PwD is relatively high.

Nevertheless, concerns and doubts over COVID-19 vaccines are still lingering in their minds. The justification lies in the insufficient knowledge about COVID-19, the absence of accessible information formats, despite the omnipresence of vaccine-related information on the mass media, as well as the lack of personal assistance for PwD.

news-1-people-with-disabilities-in-vietnam-get-covid-19-vaccine-related-information The online information session aims to provide people with disabilities in Vietnam with knowledge about COVID-19 vaccines.

Speaking at the recent information session, Mr Tran Quang Dung, Chairman of The Association of People with Disabilities in Ha Nam province emphasised on the barriers affecting PwD’s access to vaccine-related information.

“Due to different types of disabilities, access to information is quite challenging for people from this community. This project allows people to share their vaccination stories and experts to help with many unanswered questions coming from people with disabilities,” Mr Dung said.

Ms Nguyen Hong Ha, Director of Ha Noi Independent Living Center (ILC) reflected on the lack of specific guidelines on vaccination for PwD at the information session.

“The Ministry of Health issued a handbook on COVID-19 prevention for PwD. However, specific guidelines on vaccination for them are still limited, especially for those who are residing in rural and mountainous areas where there is a scarce opportunity for accessing information technologies." 

news-2-people-with-disabilities-in-vietnam-get-covid-19-vaccine-related-information (Pictured right) Ms Nguyen Hong Ha, Director of Ha Noi Independent Living Center (ILC) reflected the lack of specific guidelines on vaccination for PwD.

The sessions did open up a window of opportunity for the disabled communities to comprehend COVID-19 vaccinations and related information and processes. According to RMIT School of Communication & Design lecturer and project lead Dr Abdul Rohman, "Providing equitable information for people with disabilities is essential to move forward from the pandemic."

The participants shared their unvaccinated and vaccinated stories, and put questions revolving around the effectiveness of vaccines, the vaccine mixed dose, complications after injection, the requirement of the 3rd dose, and so forth.

Besides consultations with the doctors, representatives of the Associations of People with Disabilities also issued clear and robust recommendations on the basis of accessible and understandable information and support networks as well to ensure that governments comply with their obligations to persons with disabilities with regard to priority access to COVID-19 vaccinations.

The following information session will be organised on 9 January 2022, focussing on the 3rd dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and related information.

The events are part of the project titled "Modeling vaccine-related information to create hybrid information hubs for people with disabilities in Vietnam and Indonesia," led by RMIT University, supported by the Vaccine Confidence Fund and Global Impact.

About the project:

The project aims to develop information hubs that combine social media and non-social media platforms to increase vaccine uptake among PwD. The hubs will connect PwD with reliable information sources, medical practitioners and become spaces where they can share their concerns and experiences before and after vaccinations, in addition to understanding the reasons of those who reject vaccinations.

According to Dr Abdul Rohman, in broader terms, this research project will contribute to harnessing the usefulness of social media for mitigating vaccine hesitancy resulting from the limited availability of vaccination guidelines. Thus, gradually mainstreaming disability rights in epidemic preparedness, response, and recovery and strengthening protections to PwD in Southeast Asia.

In Vietnam, the project activities at the community level in partnership with Hanoi Independent Living Center (ILC), The Association of People with Disabilities in Ha Nam, and Thai Binh provinces to implement the information hubs.

Story: Dr Abdul Rohman and Thuy Le

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