AZ priority jabs for old folk in Penang nursing homes

COVID-19 vaccination for the elderly in Penang’s nursing homes will start today and this includes those in 30 homes in Penang’s densely populated northeast district, which is fast turning into a critical zone.

Penang Health Committee chairman Dr Norlela Ariffin said they would be given AstraZeneca vaccines (AZ), which were found to be more suitable for the elderly.

The vaccination of the elderly in nursing homes will include those living in homes which are not registered or licensed, she added.

“Medical officers from Health Department will reach out to them after they pass their frailty test for vaccination throughout the state.

“National Covid-19 Immunisation programme coordinating minister Khairy Jamaluddin and Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba have contacted me and I’ve briefed them that about 160,000 senior

citizens in Penang have registered for vaccination, ” she said.

Norlela said among those in Penang’s northeast district to receive the vaccines are residents in three nursing homes in Jalan Katz, Jalan Seang Tek and Lebuh Cecil, which were ordered to close, after cases were detected.

All three homes were found not to have registered with the Welfare Department.

Penang Welfare Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh said the number of unregistered elderly nursing homes in Penang surpassed those that were registered.

“Only 103 are registered while 190 are not.

“In the last four years, we have been trying hard to get them

registered and even conducted roadshows with officers reaching out to every one of them.

“The state gave numerous exemptions and the final deadline to register their homes is Dec 31 this year, ” said Phee.

Phee gave assurance that senior citizens in Penang need not worry about being missed out as the names of those registered under Penang’s iSejahtera welfare aid

programme had been transferred into the MySejahtera system.

“In February, we transferred 202,000 names of senior citizens registered with iSejahtera to MySejahtera and 196,000 of them were successfully done.

“We are investigating the missing 6,000 records. If names in the list have been vaccinated, they can be removed, ” he said.

Phee urged the management of all centres to ensure that all residents are registered for vaccination.

He called on NGOs to help seek out remaining senior citizens in Penang who are neither in homes nor registered with iSejahtera.

Earlier, Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow announced that the state Health Department will implement an outreach programme at 49 nursing homes in the state to ensure that all 2,185 of their residents will be vaccinated.

The initiative is expected to start this week.

“We decided on this initiative after a discussion with the state Health director, National Security Council state director and the state health exco member on Monday.

“As such, the state is urging for Phase 2 of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme involving high-risk groups such as senior citizens and those with co-morbidities to be sped up.

“The process began on April 19.

It has been a month and out of 210,902 individuals who registered through MySejahtera, only 31,412 received their first doses in Penang, ” he said in a statement.

Chow noted that among those registered, 125,866 individuals were those aged 60 and above.

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