KUALA LUMPUR, April 30 — OKU Sentral president Senator Datuk Ras Adiba Radzi today called on the government to include parents and caregivers of persons with disabilities (PwD) in the second phase of the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme so that they too can be given the priority to receive the vaccine.

She said the parents and the caregivers should also be protected like the frontliners because they are the ones responsible for caring, monitoring and helping to meet the daily needs of the weak and chronically ill PwD.

“Millions of thanks to the government for including the high-risk groups, the PwD and the elderlies in the second phase of the programme. However, I would like to call on the Coordinating Minister, Khairy Jamaluddin, to include parents and caregivers for the PwD in the second phase as well.

“If the parents or caregivers are sick or exposed to COVID-19, then there will be no one to assist the PwD and this will cause them to suffer other problems and mental health issues that can even lead to suicide attempts,” she said in a statement here today.

Ras Adiba, who is also chairman of the Malaysian National News Agency (Bernama), explained that since disabled children with a high risk of morbidity were not listed in the programme due to their age, it was important for individuals who take care of them to be vaccinated.

“It is important to ensure that individuals who are nearby or around the PwD are given priority in this vaccination programme to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 among the PwD, as well as protect the lives of disabled children,” said Ras Adiba.

Therefore, she urged the Ministry of Health (MOH) to look into the matter seriously to ensure and protect children with disabilities and their caregivers, who are also categorised as vulnerable groups and require due attention.

“I am sure with the right support system, the Shared Prosperity Vision 2030, which is to boost inclusiveness towards a just society, will be achieved.  

“The commitment to realise the rights of PwD is not only a matter of justice. It is an investment for a better future for everyone. An integrated approach is needed to ensure that all PwD will not be left behind,” she added.


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