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International Day of People with Disabilities 2021

Hearing Therapy explore barriers to accessing COVID-19 vaccinations and attending vaccination clinics. 

3 December 2021 – This year’s theme of the annual celebration of people with disabilities is ‘Fighting for rights in the post-COVID era’. The theme recognises that people living with disabilities are among the most affected populations amidst the global pandemic. 

The government recently contracted Hearing Therapy to develop accessible and engaging information to inform and assist disabled people to engage with the

COVID-19 vaccination initiative across New Zealand.

Through our experience at Hearing Therapy, we understand that deaf and hard of hearing people face severe communication barriers when accessing health services.

The deaf and hard of hearing community often experience inequitable access to health services due to limited awareness from health service partners as to how to effectively communicate and share information that will better inform deaf and hard of hearing people.

This lack of understanding is often coupled with an assumption that deaf and hard of hearing people can read available material should they not be able to hear; while that is correct for some of the population by no means is it accurate for all.

Many deaf and hard of hearing people have long lived experiences of exclusion, including the crucial area of education, which can result in little or even no literacy skills.

Our approach was to address the barriers that deaf and hard of hearing people face in accessing this crucial information. We did this by transforming current information regarding the COVID-19 vaccination into a more engaging, elevated and accessible format, that can be better accessed and understood by the deaf and hard of hearing community.

The video and introductory cards developed by the Hearing Therapy team for this initiative not only informed COVID-19 vaccinations services through the provision of various tools, but we were also able to show in video how in practice, small changes will ultimately benefit the whole community. This information was distributed across DHBs and national networks.

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