Call to put council staff in priority list for vaccination

STAFF members from both city councils should be included as frontliners in the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme, said Penang local government committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo.

He said many council workers were stationed on the ground

to make sure that all standard operating procedures (SOPs) were adhered to since the movement control order (MCO) was first implemented in March last year.

“We have more than 6,000 staff members in both councils, with around 2,000 staff members in the Penang Island City Council (MBPP) and around 4,000 in the Seberang Prai City Council (MBSP).

“All of them are exposed to high risk. For those who are stationed in offices, they are also exposed to high risk as they have to encounter the public who have inquiries.

“As of Monday, 1.57 million checks had been carried out on Penang island and mainland to ensure that the public adhered to the SOPs.

“The MBPP checked over 706,000 sites and recorded an SOP compliance rate of 99.69%, whereas the mainland recorded an SOP compliance rate of 99.38% for over 868,000 premises.

“Our workers, especially those on the ground, are exposed to the risk every day and they should be recognised and given the priority to be vaccinated, ” he said at a press conference after a spot check at Chowrasta Market in George Town, Penang, on Tuesday.

He also gave out face masks to traders at the market.

Jagdeep pointed out that local government staff were not included in the vaccination guidelines, which were drawn up by the Covid-19 Vaccine Supply Access Guarantee Special Committee

in a meeting chaired by Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba and Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.

“Category one are frontliners who are involved directly in providing medical treatment to patients.

“They encompass healthcare workers from institutions under the Health Ministry, Defence Ministry, teaching hospitals and private hospitals. I agree that they should be given the priority.

“As for Category two frontliners, those listed in the guidelines are the other individuals that are from the healthcare, defence, security and essential services sectors.

“However, our council workers, who have been our frontliners on the ground all this while, are not included in the list.

“I urge the ministers to look into the issue and recognise that council workers are frontliners and be given the priority to be vaccinated, ” he said.

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