PUTRAJAYA: The government’s pledge to protect the media from Covid-19 has got off the ground with 98 journalists receiving their first dose, with 1, 000 more to get their appointments next week.
Reporters, photographers and video cameramen from the local and international press based in the Klang Valley were at the Dewan Seroja vaccination centre here yesterday from 9am for their jabs.
Witnessing the exercise was National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme coordinating minister Khairy Jamaluddin, Multimedia and Communications Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah and Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba.
Saifuddin said his ministry had identified more than 4, 000 media practitioners who were eligible for the vaccination.
“There will be more groups to follow, including in other states. We deem journalists as frontliners as they have to go out to get the job done, vaccinated or not.
“Hopefully, all journalists can be vaccinated as soon as possible, ” he told reporters at the centre.
On the National Union of Journalists of Peninsular Malaysia’s (NUJ) call for media practitioners who were not vaccinated to refrain from doing field reporting or coverage in public places, Saifuddin said the government had taken note of it.
“I have received a copy of the NUJ’s statement and we understand the concerns raised. This will be discussed with the ministers (concerned), ” he added.
He said the Covid-19 Vaccine Supply Access Guarantee Special Committee was the body with the ultimate say on the allocation of vaccination appointments.
“JKJAV has its own calculations. But we do understand the concern of journalists, ” said Saifuddin.
Khairy said that in the coming week, more than 1, 000 journalists were expected to receive vaccination appointments.
“CITF (Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force) is in the midst of getting the list of names from the Information Department. We want to ensure that all media practitioners are protected, ” he said.
NUJ president Farah Marshita Abd Patah said yesterday that only a handful of media personnel had been vaccinated so far.
“NUJ calls for the cooperation of private media companies, as well as the government and editors-in-chief, to only send media personnel who are already vaccinated to carry out reporting on the ground.
“For those vaccinated and are in the field, they are reminded to always maintain the SOP and personal safety, ” she added.