Tanzania: Covid-19 Jab Uptake Among People With Hearing-Impairment Increases

PEOPLE with hearing-impairment have been reached with education and sensitization on vaccination for protection against Covid-19 pandemic.

The initiative has then seen an increasing number of deaf people taking the Covid-19 jab for their protection increasing to 303 by this month from only 87, who received the jab last year.

"Education on safety and importance of taking Covid-19 vaccines created awareness and led to people with hearing-impairment receiving their vaccination to protect themselves from the pandemic. We are grateful to the government for this cooperation," said Gender Coordinator of Tanzania Association for the Deaf (CHAVITA), Ms Lupi Mwaisaka recently.

She noted that the initiative of reaching out the deaf and provide them with vaccines safety and competency education took place in three regions of Arusha, Mwanza and Mbeya. It was financed by the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF)

Addressing a press conference in Dar es Salaam, Ms Mwaisaka said that the low Covid-19 short uptake among the deaf community was due to marginalization brought about by lack of information, and hence, they remained vulnerable to pervasive misleading information about the vaccines safety.

"Even though the government insisted that vaccination is voluntary, still deaf and blind people were left behind as there were no sign language translators, this denied them their right to get protected against Covid-19 and they remain vulnerable to infections," she said.

She said that the project run by CHAVITA under UNICEF's auspices dubbed, Covid-19 demand promotion: improved awareness and confidence on the pandemic preventive measures.

According to her, the programme increased vaccinations uptake, not only for the deafened, blind and other people with disabilities but also the community surrounding them, where more initiative are still needed to rescue such community members from Covid-19 infection.

For his part, CHAVITA's legal officer Mr Novatus Rukwago, called for observance of the law, which directs having sign language translators in media houses for public education programmes. If adhered to, the move will have disabled people included in development programmes in the country.

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