IDEP Foundation

Seeking Protection for Deaf Communities through COVID-19 Vaccination at the Banjar Hall Taman Surodadi, Kediri, Tabanan

Conditions of COVID-19 vaccination

Lately, the trend of COVID-19 has been sluggish. However, vigilance and anticipation of this virus must remain a shared priority because the ability to mutate this virus is still a severe threat, even though the feeling of security and comfort in activities for the community is the main thing that needs to be sought amid the COVID-19 pandemic. One good step that needs to be carried out regularly is the inclusive COVID-19 vaccination for all people, including the elderly and groups of persons with disabilities.

To support this anticipatory step, the Australia Indonesia Partnership Program for Health Resilience (AIHSP) through Save the Children Indonesia (SCI) and IDEP Selaras Alam (IDEP) are working with the DPC Movement for the Welfare of Deaf Indonesia (Gerkatin) Tabanan Regency at Balai Banjar Taman Surodadi, Kediri, Tabanan. The “Inclusive COVID-19 Vaccination” campaign was held on Thursday, 23 February 2023.

One of the covid-19 vaccination participants is taking care of registration

The vaccination center opens in the morning at 08.00 WITA and finishes at 12.00 WITA. Thirty-four people from Gerkatin registered and arrived at the location according to the timeframe provided. Twenty-six people were vaccinated, and eight others were unsuccessful because there was a tendency for high blood pressure during the screening process. Meanwhile, there are 37 registered local people.

One of the Gerkatin members who received the COVID-19 vaccine injection

Access to vaccines for persons with disabilities is also becoming more open and accessible, so more and more persons with disabilities are now receiving vaccines according to their needs. All vaccination participants, at that time, immediately received vaccine certificates and registered data directly on the Peduli Lindungi application. Rudolf Valentino Vlug, chairman of the Bali Provincial DPD Gerkatin, was also at the vaccination activity. He is registering as a participant for the second booster vaccine (dose four vaccine).

“I am pleased to be able to come here for the vaccination activity. I saw many friends who enthusiastically queued in person. It can be seen that deaf friends are prioritized to take part in the vaccine without having to queue again. We want to thank you very much because there is also a Sign Language Interpreter (JBI) here. Without JBI, it would be complicated for us to communicate. I ask that, if possible, at every subsequent event, there is always access to JBI so that all those present here can understand. Thank you,” he said before calling his son home.

Rudolf Valentino Vlug (center) with his wife and children

The vaccination center managed in collaboration with health workers from the UPTD Puskemas Kediri 1, is part of the Bali Province COVID-19 Inclusive Vaccination Acceleration Program (VACCINE) being carried out by AIHSP, SCI, and IDEP. This inclusive vaccination program targets were explicitly vulnerable groups, especially the elderly and persons with disabilities and other vulnerable groups.

Meanwhile, Ida Ayu Ratna Paramita Pradnyanti, Chair of the Gerkatin DPC, Tabanan Regency, was also present at that day’s vaccination. Aside from being a vaccine participant, she helps capture the other friends’ moments getting vaccine injections.

“So I am responsible for coordinating with friends to be able to come and want vaccines, especially for the second booster vaccine. Several other friends could not come for the vaccine for several reasons, especially being sick and working. In the future, we hope to be able to invite other deaf friends to be able to take part in this vaccination,” she explained.

Ida Ayu Ratna Paramita Pradnyanti, as Chair of the DPC Gerkatin, Tabanan Regency

Met on different occasions, the Program Director of the Australia Indonesia Partnership for Health Resilience (AIHSP), John Leigh, stressed the importance of solid collaboration from various parties to ensure the success of efforts to equalize access to COVID-19 vaccinations and other health services in the future.

“In the future, the multi-stakeholder collaboration will be able to encourage other efforts to close disparities in access to health services, especially those that are more sensitive to the needs of vulnerable groups, towards a stronger Indonesian health resilience system.”

From July to 31 January 2023, the COVID-19 vaccinations carried out by AIHSP through Save the Children and IDEP have reached 15,084 injections, of which people with disabilities received 351 vaccinations and 7,563 vaccinations received by the elderly. By opening more inclusive access and vaccine services, the VACCINE program is hoped to support the Government of Indonesia’s goal of increasing the health resilience system and creating a healthy society, including preventing the potential risk of transmission of COVID-19 and its derivative variants.

Article & Photo: Nicolaus Sulistyo © IDEP Foundation