THE government’s plan to ramp up Covid-19 vaccination in areas outside the Klang Valley has been well received, with many people saying the move is timely especially with a surge of cases in many states including Johor.
Folks in Johor Baru told StarMetro that they hoped the move would be carried out transparently with adequate safety measures in place to prevent any Covid-19 outbreaks at vaccination centres.
Many also expressed their wish for the government to ease restrictions for those fully vaccinated, as a way to boost the economy and encourage others to get their jabs on time.
Part-time make-up artist Abdul Hakim Azmi, 26, said news about additional vaccines being procured was something he had hoped for as he wanted to be vaccinated as soon as possible.
“I registered for vaccination in March but have not received any news about an appointment yet.
“This has made me very anxious, especially when positive cases are being reported among those around me.
“Recently, my neighbour tested positive for Covid-19 so I am very worried, as I have yet to get any form of protection against the disease,” he added.
Florist Jun Lim, 34, registered for vaccination in February but has also not received an appointment for her first dose.
“My husband, colleagues and most people I know, who are around my age, have yet to get an appointment as well.
“Getting vaccinated will put my mind at ease, especially because I have two young children at home,” she said, adding that she was also worried about the increasing number of Covid-19 cases in Johor.
Housewife Tan Siew Mien, 40, said the vaccination process should be more transparent, especially regarding appointments.
She said the government was supposed to be carrying out vaccination in batches based on age group and vulnerability, but some of her younger relatives in their 20s had already got their shots.
“The focus should be to vaccinate people in major cities with a high number of cases such as Johor Baru, Muar and Kulai,” she said, adding that she had registered for vaccination several months ago and was constantly checking the status on her MySejahtera app.
Tan wants to be vaccinated as she has three young children and elderly folks at home.
Business owner Collen Sigar, 51, said getting more people in Johor vaccinated would not only protect their lives but could also lighten the burden of frontliners.
“I have received my second dose of the vaccine last month but I am very worried about the health of people around me who are yet to be vaccinated.
“I am also worried about my son, who is a frontliner and has been working tirelessly attending to Covid-19 patients.
“I hope more people will be vaccinated soon as this will reduce the risk of them facing complications because of the disease and make it easier for frontliners to manage the pandemic,” she said, adding that she registered for the vaccine in February.
Local businessman B. Pannir Selvam urged the government to speed up vaccinations in the state as this would help reopen businesses in future.
“We have been suffering since March last year with the border closure.
“So many of my friends’ companies have gone bust.
“With more people vaccinated, we will have an opportunity to resume our business,” he said.
He suggested that restaurants could allow dine-in for two people who are fully vaccinated.
Pannir, a local councillor who has gotten both his doses, said life had been difficult for the business community, especially in the Johor Baru city area.
On Monday, National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme coordinating minister Khairy Jamaluddin said Malaysia’s focus now was to distribute Covid-19 vaccines to all states and ramp up their pandemic control by National Day.
He said this was following the success of Operation Surge Capacity, which saw 97% of the adult population in the Klang Valley, the epicentre of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country, getting at least one dose.
The Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force, he said, would now focus on vaccine distribution nationwide based on two factors.
Khairy had said that vaccines would be sent to states that saw an increase in positive cases as well as states with low vaccination rates – just like what had been done for Labuan and Klang Valley earlier.
As of Monday, some 1,184,151 Johoreans have received their first dose, with 470,814 having received both doses.
Johor recorded 1,222 Covid-19 cases on Aug 2.