PETALING JAYA: Malaysians should not let their guard down while the National Covid-19 Immunisation Plan is being implemented, says Alliance For Safe Community chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye (pic).
He said it is important for everybody to make themselves familiar with the Government’s detailed plan for the Covid-19 vaccine rollout beginning Feb 26.
"They will still have to follow the safety protocols before and even after inoculation," he said in a statement on Wednesday (Feb 17).
Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (Feb 16) announced on Tuesday that the first batch of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine will arrive in the country on Feb 21 and the rollout of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme will begin on Feb 26.
Almost 27 million or over 80% of Malaysia’s population are expected to be vaccinated against Covid-19 by the first quarter of 2022.
Lee said it is a known and accepted fact that immunisation will in general be vital for economic recovery, to reduce infections, improve the immune system and generally benefit the lives and livelihoods of the rakyat.
"It is also important that in the process of vaccination, there is zero wastage, minimum resistance, and maximum participation in the programme that the government has not deemed mandatory," he said.
Lee added that the government has already identified groups that will be among the first to receive the vaccines, saying that this includes frontline medical and non-medical staff, the elderly, state assemblymen and Members of Parliament.
"While politicians are being given priority, other segments of the rakyat who face a higher risk should also be given serious attention. There also could be some groups that may have fallen through the cracks, so there must be some flexibility in ascertaining the priority groups," he said.
Lee added that the Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations has suggested that retail workers - including those in supermarkets - should be prioritised since they also interact with the public throughout the day, every day including weekends and public holidays
He also said the proposed special vaccine Injury Scheme announced by the Health Ministry should also be expedited.
"There are also some technical elements that must be considered, including the need for an integrated database that unites all the five planned methods of registration, as well as who manages it, ” said Lee
"We also need a long-term plan for the programme to ascertain if we need repeated doses of the vaccine annually in the event of an epidemic," he also said.
Lee added that active public participation via traditional and social media should be taken into consideration so that plans could be tweaked for maximum benefit if such adjustments were necessary.
"This kind of dialogue with the media should be a daily affair for maximum public participation, high level of acceptance and confidence building. After all, we are all in this together. All for one and one for all," he said.