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While the majority of vaccinees would be able to easily handle the assessments and explanations required at Vaccine Distribution Centers (VDPs) before receiving Covid-19 vaccines, the process might be a bit more difficult for some, such as hearing impaired.

However, the Klang Valley community had received the help they needed as special arrangements had been made for them to be vaccinated in a timely manner.

The Malaysian Federation of the Deaf (MFD) executive director Mohamad Sazali Shaa’ri said they had partnered with the Malaysian Association for the Blind (MAB) to set up a special vaccination center in 4 June to August 6 in the MAB building in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur, to meet the needs of MFD members.

MFD employees also volunteered at the vaccination center to help with sign language interpretation.

Volunteers trained in sign language help the hearing impaired at the MAB vaccination center in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur.

“As a result, the deaf vaccination process at the MAB center went smoothly, with 967 deaf people successfully completing both doses,” Sazali said.

MAB Director General George Thomas said he was happy to collaborate with MFD and share the MAB site with another group with special needs to help Malaysia get everyone vaccinated quickly.

He said the two groups were called on different days to make sure the specially trained volunteers could meet the different needs of the vaccinees.

“MAB staff volunteered during the blind vaccination process, while MFD staff volunteered during the days they were waiting for the deaf.

“More than 2,036 visually impaired people have completed their two doses of vaccines.

Sazali says 967 hard of hearing people completed their two doses at the MAB vaccination center.Sazali says 967 hard of hearing people completed their two doses at the MAB vaccination center.

“The location was very convenient, especially for the blind as they knew the building well and would be comfortable even if they came alone.

“Our center is easily accessible, being within walking distance of KL Sentral, a transport hub,” he added.

In addition to the MAB center, some people with hearing loss have visited regular vaccination centers to be vaccinated.

The Honorary Secretary of the Selangor and Federal Territory Society for the Deaf, S. Surendran, said they had not received any complaints from members.

George: The MAB building was used as a vaccination center because it was located near KL Sentral.George: The MAB building was used as a vaccination center because it was located near KL Sentral.

“Most deaf people can read and write,” he said, “so if they had communication problems in a center, they would ask for a sign language interpreter or converse while writing on a piece of paper. paper.

“In any case, a deaf person usually has a support system.

“When they were alone in such a situation, they would likely make a video call to someone in their circle of support asking for help.

“So far, the deaf are doing well in the Covid-19 vaccination exercise,” he added.

Sign language interpreters are mobilizing

One person who has helped the hearing impaired via video calls is sign language teacher Mohd Armi Rusli, 38, from Semenyih, Selangor.

Armi had posted his phone number on his social media pages a few years ago to draw attention to his emergency services.

“Usually I get calls from banks, government agencies and hospitals.

“Now I also get calls from vaccination centers and I am happy to help.

“I encourage those who deal with the masses to save my number in their telephone contact list, as they will never know when they may face an obstacle in communicating with a hearing impaired person.

“There are different degrees of hearing loss and some are able to be independent, like me. I have partial hearing loss so I can still hear using a hearing aid, ”he said.

Armi offered his sign language interpreter service to vaccination centers.Armi offered his sign language interpreter service to vaccination centers.

StarMetro also spoke to two sign language interpreters who volunteered at the MAB Special Vaccination Center.

Undergraduate student Arif Mustafa Aqlam, 20, had volunteered since July, after learning about the need for sign language interpreters to help the deaf.

He had learned sign language by watching his parents communicate because his father was hearing impaired.

“The constant use of sign language to converse with my father allowed me to better master it.

“Being able to serve the hearing impaired here made me very happy because I have always wanted to give back to the community,” he said.

Sign language volunteers communicate with hearing impaired people at the MAB Building Vaccination Center in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur.  - Photos courtesy of MAB and MDFSign language volunteers communicate with hearing impaired people at the MAB Building Vaccination Center in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur. – Photos courtesy of MAB and MDF

Another volunteer is a former Selangor School for the Deaf teacher, Mr. Dhan, who has been providing her services at the same location since the start of the immunization program.

“My role here is to communicate with both the deaf and the medical staff in the room where the vaccines are administered.

“I do my best to relay questions from the recipients to the medical staff administering the vaccine and vice versa, while keeping the recipients calm and assuring them that all is well,” said the 55-year-old.

Dhan said she learned to communicate in sign language more than 20 years ago when her hearing-impaired son started school.

“When I was asked to help here, I accepted it right away because I knew they would need some extra hands, even though I haven’t practiced signing for a long time.

“It is a completely different feeling when I am able to serve the deaf, and it will always be my passion to help them in the best possible way,” she said.

Note: People working in PPVs who need help from Armi can message them via WhatsApp or SMS to 011-6484 1420.


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