KLANG: Disability advocacy groups want the government to implement a programme to increase the number of disabled people registered for the Covid-19 vaccination.
Damai Disabled Persons Association president V Murugeswaran said the number of disabled people registered for the vaccination up to June 1 was 195,395 which was only 33.8% of the 577,352 disabled people nationwide.
“There has to be more awareness created to ensure disabled people of all categories in every state nationwide are enrolled for Covid-19 vaccination," said Murugeswaran.
He added one of options would be to automatically register all disabled persons registered with the Welfare Department for the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme.
“Those with learning disabilities, mental disabilities and those who lack the knowledge of how to register would be left out if the authorities expected them to self-register," Murugeswaran said.
Malaysian Spinal Cord Injury Advocacy Association secretary Dr Basri Husin urged those who knew of disabled people who had yet to be registered for the vaccination to help them out.
“Slow learners and those with mental disabilities for certain would not know how to register. So they have to depend on the goodwill of neighbours as well as those who know them to register if they don’t have family members to do it for them," he said.
He said the relevant authorities must also take it upon themselves to visit care homes for the disabled to register the residents for the national inoculation programme.
Little People National Organisation of Malaysia adviser Dr Ruziah Ghazali said some disabled people cannot register by themselves as they did not have Internet access and used a basic telephone as opposed to a smartphone.
“Some of those who have smartphones cannot afford to top-up their prepaid phone lines and hence cannot register through the MySejahtera app," said Dr Ruziah who is also a member of the National Council for the Disabled.
She added that elected representatives as well as village headmen must go to the ground and seek out members of the disabled community in their respective areas to help register them for the vaccination.
Women, Family and Community Development MinisterDatuk Seri Rina Mohd Harun had voiced her concerns recently over the small number of disabled people who had registered for the vaccination.