PETALING JAYA: As the national Covid-19 immunisation programme ramps up, organisations are encouraging refugees to get vaccinated, in hopes of achieving herd immunity to break the chain of infections.
Asylum Access made a step-by-step video tutorial on registering via the MySejahtera app or the website of the Special Committee on Vaccine Supply Access Guarantee (JKJAV).
The original three-minute video is in English. Asylum Access volunteer Amin Kamrani said they were working with The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to produce it in other languages.
“There’s not much messaging going through to these communities to register for vaccination. The video is just a way to encourage them to do so. If it can reach even 100 people, that would be a good start, ” he said.
Mercy Malaysia is promoting registration via MySejahtera or JKJAV for refugees who are willing to do so.
Its Programme Development and Operations general manager Said Alhudzari said they were doing this at mobile clinics for refugees.
He added that UNHCR was working with the government and NGOs on an alternative registration platform for the refugees and other non-citizens in Malaysia although this has yet to be finalised.
“While some are open to register themselves on the existing platform, many are still reluctant. Some fear detention and deportation by the authorities if they come forward.
“But we do believe some refugees may not have access to the information yet, due to various reasons, ” he said.
UNHCR Community-Based Protection Officer Dr Susheela Balasundaram said refugee communities had expressed gratitude for the decision by the government to include them in the national immunisation programme.
“Initial feedback points to a keen interest among the community to come forward for vaccination once procedures for doing so have been established, ” she said.
She also welcomed the government’s assurance that undocumented foreigners who present themselves for vaccination would not be arrested.