Dedicated team to support disabled people to access vaccine

By Te Ao - Māori News

A new team has been mobilised to support disabled people to access transport and get vaccinated in a way that suits their needs.

 “A 30-strong team has been tasked with answering calls and questions, assisting disabled people and their carers to get the information and support they need,” Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said. “It will not only help increase vaccination rates among this group but also keep them and their whānau safer.”

To speak with a support specialist, people can call the Covid Vaccination Healthline on 0800 28 29 26 for free 8 am – 8 pm Monday to Friday and ‘push 2’ to speak to one of the team.

“We know that being vaccinated will be one of our greatest protections against Covid-19, which is why we need to continue making every effort to prioritise disabled people in the vaccination programme,” Disability Issues Minister Carmel Sepuloni said. 

 “I’m encouraged to see the team is already having a positive impact, supporting over 440 disabled people in the first two weeks since the team began taking calls.

“Support has included ensuring sites have mobility assistance, arranging sign language interpreters, providing transport options, ensuring 1737 phone counsellors are available to support people with needle anxiety, and other bespoke solutions developed for individuals alongside district health boards.

“This is another step in the right direction as we continue to remove barriers to vaccinations for disabled people, and make the vaccination programme accessible, inclusive and mana-enhancing,” Sepuloni said.