PUTRAJAYA: Those with confirmed Covid-19 vaccination appointments should do their very best not to miss them, says Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.
He noted that Covid-19 vaccines are currently available in limited amounts so it is better not to waste them.
“For example, with surgeries, about 15% of patients end up missing their appointments.
“This is a waste of resources, time and manpower, because preparation has to be made beforehand.
“We do not want to waste our Covid-19 vaccines. A few days before your appointment is scheduled, you should confirm whether or not you can make it.
“If you are not able to make it, we will see how the vaccines can perhaps be given to others on the waiting list to avoid wastage.
“Try to avoid missing out, ” Dr Noor Hisham said during a virtual engagement session with the media on Friday.
The National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme, which has just kicked off in the country, is voluntary.
Under the first phase, over 500,000 frontliners, especially healthcare workers, will be vaccinated.
The elderly and the vulnerable are next in line, followed by the general public aged 18 and above.
The government is hoping to vaccinate at least 23 million of the Malaysian public by early next year, which is about 70% of the population.
Dr Noor Hisham said the country would prefer not to take a strict approach with those who miss their vaccination appointments.
“We would prefer to be the carrot rather than the stick. We are hoping the Malaysian public complies with the instructions given, ” he said.
For the country to reach Covid-19 herd immunity, Dr Noor Hisham said it would take six to nine months before the world will see the effects of mass vaccinations.
He said for the time being, border controls and travel bans are still needed.
“Until then, we need to stick to our two approaches in managing the pandemic, which are public health measures and vaccination, ” he said.
Daily cases, recoveries, infectivity rates and hospital bed occupancy will be the indicators as to whether or not herd immunity has been reached in the coming months, he added.