JOHOR BARU: The state government is mobilising to help Malaysians in rural areas register for vaccination under the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme.
Johor health and environment committee chairman R. Vidyananthan noted that the Health Ministry’s Covid-19 task force was aware of the rural community’s needs and would prepare for this under phase two of the vaccine rollout.
“The phase one registration is almost complete and the ministry will follow through with phase three soon.
“Appointments for vaccine will be given based on the available stocks, ” he said here yesterday.
Vidyananthan added that the authorities would hand out forms to be filled by vaccine recipients.
“Help will be given via the respective village chiefs, penghulu, district offices, Kawasan Rukun Tetangga, Combi teams (Communication for Behavioral Impact) and Komuniti Sihat Pembina Negara (Kospen) in getting the public to register.
“All of this will be monitored by the Johor disaster committee as well as the state national security council to make sure no one is left out, ” he said.
Up to 126,000 people are expected to be vaccinated daily after the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme starts on Feb 26.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba had said that seven vaccinators would be placed at each of the 600 vaccination stations nationwide.
The Health Ministry, he added, had identified and prepared 600 vaccination stations nationwide that include health clinics as well as government and private hospitals.
Selangor public health, unity, women empowerment and family committee chairman Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud said local councils and assemblymen could be roped in to disseminate the information and facilitate registration in rural areas.
“We must go to areas where there may be low Internet or smartphone penetration and conduct physical registration of recipients.
“This can then be uploaded to the common database to ensure everyone is covered, ’’ she said.
She said those who had smartphones could register through the state’s Selangkah application, which would give them an identity number.
“This will be used to provide detailed information to the vaccine receiver.
“Illegal immigrants will also be able to register through this and it will be an avenue for us to designate vaccines for them without in any way recognising their illegal status, ’’ said Dr Siti Mariah.
She added that illegal immigrants must not be left out as they were an essential component in achieving herd immunity against the Covid-19 virus.
“Protecting them means protecting us, ’’ she said.
Dr Siti Mariah said efforts to get people to sign up for the vaccination must be done through public health promotion programmes via radio, television and media campaigns, as well as road shows and distribution of flyers explaining the nature of the vaccine to the people.
“We also need to communicate the message through sermons in mosques and also religious segments to address issues that may be sensitive, ’’ she added.
Selangor Task Force for Covid-19 (STFC) chairman Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad concurred and said registration for the vaccines must be done in a holistic way and illegal immigrants could not be marginalised and must be included in the vaccination programme.
“I am not an advocate of illegal citizens as they have broken the law of the country but in the current pandemic we have to look at the bigger picture and immunising them means protecting our citizens, ’’ said Dr Dzulkefly.
He added that vaccinating everyone, regardless of their status, would ensure that pockets where potential outbreaks might occur were not missed out.
In PENANG, health committee chairman Dr Norlela Ariffin said the 375 Village Community Management Councils (MPKK) in the state would go to the ground to assist those in rural areas to sign up for the vaccination programme.
“I don’t think we will have a problem with that; we already have MPKK on duty at each village in every constituency in the state.
“Furthermore, we are not that big and it will still be manageable if we conduct a drive to get people to sign up, ” she added.
The Penanti assemblywoman said the state would use database created for the senior citizens’ programme to help them sign up.
Perlis health committee chairman Teh Chai Aan said the state government would mobilise its MPKK to assist those in rural areas register for the programme.
“We have about 380 MPKK all over Perlis and they will go to the respective villages that they represent to help people with the registration, ” he added.
Teh also said that most of the areas in Perlis were well connected, except for Timah Tasoh, Wang Kelian and several villages in Tebing Tinggi.