Shot in the arm for factory staff

Factory operator Nur Hayati (front)expresses in sign language that she feels a great sense of relief after getting her first dose. She is seen here together with vaccinated colleagues at the Bukit Jawi Golf Resort in Nibong Tebal, Penang. – ZHAFARAN NASIB/The Star

COVID-19 immunisation for the manufacturing sector kicked off smoothly in Penang with employees of Micron Memory Malaysia Sdn Bhd arriving by factory buses at the vaccination centre at Bukit Jawi Golf Resort on the mainland.

A total 480 workers, including some 30 of them who are hearing impaired, received their first dose of the Sinovac vaccine at the centre on the first day of the Program Imunisasi Industri Covid-19 Kerjasama Awam-Swasta (Pikas).

The company’s vice-president and country manager Amarjit Singh said a total of 2, 200 employees in the company’s Penang hub were eligible to be vaccinated and would undergo the process within a span of five days, followed by other companies operating within the Batu Kawan area.

“We are vaccinating all eligible employees in our facility in

this exercise including janitors, security guards, canteen operators and custodial contractors.

“About 70% of them are operators and 20% of them are engineers and in management, ” he said after receiving his vaccine yesterday.

Amarjit added that the company was happy to lead 20 other companies amid challenges in the exercise, which would see a total 16, 400 employees vaccinated by the end of it.

“In this model, we have 21 companies working together to get vaccinated one after another under a collaboration with the International Trade and Industry Ministry (Miti), Covid-19 Immuni-sation Task Force and the Health Ministry.

“Being a semiconductor manufacturing company, we know how to run the factory but setting up a vaccine dispensing centre is not our business.

“Handling of vaccine delivery, aligning of different parties involved and deciding of sequences for vaccination are among challenges we’ve worked through.

“We are grateful to Miti and leadership of other companies.

All of us have a common objective of wanting to get the jabs into the arms of everyone, ” he said.

As a token of appreciation, each employee received a goodie bag after vaccination.

“We thank them for volunteering. Besides a goodie bag, every employee who is vaccinated is granted vaccination leave which they can take at any time, ”added Amarjit.

Among those in the company who received their vaccine was operator Nur Hayati Mohd Esa, 30, who has hearing impairment.

“All went well from the start to end.

“I live with my parents and four siblings at home.

“I feel a great sense of relief and security after being vaccinated, ” she said in sign language which was translated by an interpreter.

Engineer K. Lekkasri, 23, who was scheduled to receive her dose of vaccine on Friday, said she was excited about it.

“I can’t wait for Covid-19 to end. I miss vacations and eating out.

“Since I live with my parents and two brothers, we need to keep each other safe and being immunised is a good way to start, ” she said.

The programme at the resort, with seven booths dispensing a maximum of 1, 500 doses a day, is expected to be completed by July but may be extended as there are about 300, 000 workers in industrial zones.

Under the programme, the vaccines are free but employers would have to pay RM90 per worker for the service administered on site or at vaccination centres.

Companies taking part could get their workers vaccinated at selected centres or choose on-site vaccination at designated factories and industrial locations.

The programme prioritises companies in critical manufacturing sub-sectors including electrical and electronics, food processing, iron and steel, medical devices, personal protective equipment, oil and gas and rubber products, including medical glove manufacturing sub-sectors.

Miti focuses on coordinating the immunisation for employees in the manufacturing sector while other ministries coordinate other sectors under their purview.

To date, Miti said more than 500 companies with about 106, 591 workers had applied to take part in Pikas.

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