GEORGE TOWN: Private hospitals in Penang have been flooded with calls from people who want to be vaccinated now instead of waiting for their turn under the three-phase national vaccination plan.
Island Hospital chief operating officer Stephanie Lee said the hospital had received many requests from patients for the vaccine.
“As we (Malaysia) are not covering the full spectrum of the general public when it comes to vaccinations right now, there are some patients who want to be in the queue and are willing to pay for it.
“From a private hospital’s perspective, we are willing to extend our services to our patients.
“However, based on the logistics and supply chain, the vaccine is only available for government hospitals.
“We are not in a position to procure the vaccine, ” she said yesterday.
Lee said as of now, there was only one vaccine registered in Malaysia and only government hospitals were allowed to procure it.
“We have registered our interest to get the vaccine and make it available to our patients, ” she said.
Penang Adventist Hospital chief executive officer Ronald Koh said his hospital had reached out to the distributors to offer the vaccine to their patients.
“We have had many enquiries on whether the vaccine is available at our hospital.
“We would like to offer the vaccine to our patients, ” he said.
Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia president Dr Kuljit Singh said private hospitals could procure vaccines from different sources once approvals were granted by
the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency.
He urged the government to allow its members to buy their own supply of Covid-19 vaccines and administer them.
“Private hospitals could be mobilised quickly to complement the government’s efforts in ensuring that the majority of the population is vaccinated in the shortest possible time to assist in achieving herd immunity.
“For every patient who opts
to be vaccinated in a private hospital, the government has one less patient to pay for, ” he said in a statement.
This came after Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said there was no immediate provision for private hospitals to buy and run their own vaccination programmes.