Critical economic sectors are next

PETALING JAYA: Phase Four of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme targeting critical economic sectors will begin on June 16 in Pengerang, says Khairy Jamaluddin.

The coordinating minister for the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme said among the sectors involved were manufacturing, logistics, transportation, energy and utility.

These sectors are those that need to operate during the movement control order.

“The Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF) is working together with the ministries such as International Trade and Industry; Transport; Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs; Tourism, Arts and Culture; and other agencies to implement the phase, ” he said at a joint press conference with Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba yesterday.

Khairy also noted that they would be working closely with Protect Health Sdn Bhd, a non-profit organisation under the Health Ministry, to manage the vaccination process for the industry sector to speed up the implementation of the immunisation programme.

“We have identified Pengerang complex as a high-risk area and will be starting our industry vaccination centre for employees in the Petronas complex there. The others will follow, ” he said.

On issues that certain companies were charging for vaccine administration, Khairy said industry vaccinations were based on a public-private partnership if the industries that have to operate during the MCO were looking to vaccinate their employees.

“The government offers the vaccine for free as per our commitment under the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme.

“However, the industry will bear the cost of administering the vaccines which will include payment made to the healthcare organisation that is organised by Protect Health Sdn Bhd.

“This will include added charges for the rental of premises and other services. This is where there are inconsistencies in terms of the additional charges, ” he said.

“CITF is working with the other relevant agencies to set a schedule of fair and reasonable charges that will be borne by the industry and companies participating in the vaccination industry programme.”

On another matter, Khairy said a total of 2, 256, 257 senior citizens have registered for the immunisation programme of which 855, 124 had received their first dose while 436, 244 had received their appointment by June 15.

“It shows that almost 60% of the elderly who have registered, either had received their first dose or will receive their first dose by the middle of June while others will receive their appointments soon.

“It is not an issue about not prioritising senior citizens but one about vaccine supply and its capacity, ” he said when asked about former energy, science, technology, environment and climate change minister Yeo Bee Yin’s criticisms of the RM70mil programme system that was unable to extract the list of senior citizens and special groups for vaccination appointments.

Yeo claimed that the database of vaccine registration and tracking system of the progress of vaccination was supposed to be able to extract out those who were above 60 and still not vaccinated, including their respective locations just from the age and location fields filled by them during the online registration process.

She claimed that it could even be done with a simple filter, sorting and logic functions in Microsoft Excel.

However, Khairy said a proper system was needed and not just a simple excel spreadsheet as they were dealing with millions of data.

“The data size that you need to process this is in the tens of gigabytes. You need a proper server and system to do this.

“When you deal with data sets this big it is very difficult to use excel. The standard excel can only take a max of just a little more than one million rows of data, ” he said.

Meanwhile, Khairy noted that 225, 810 Pfizer-BioNTech doses were scheduled to be delivered to Malaysia yesterday while another 191, 880 doses and 26, 910 doses would arrive today and tomorrow.

“The total Pfizer-BioNTech that we have received and will be delivered stands at 3, 641, 040 doses to date.

“For the Sinovac vaccine, a total of 318, 280 fill and finish doses and 500, 000 finished doses have obtained the Lot Release approval from National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) on Tuesday, ” he said.

Khairy added that yesterday, there was an increase of 319, 680 doses that had obtained the Lot Release approval from NPRA and all these batches would be sent to the Health Ministry this week to be distributed to health facilities.

Dr Adham meanwhile said with the government aiming to achieve a high vaccination rate, they would increase manpower at the vaccine dispensing centres by roping in housemen who were currently in their sixth stint as well those who recently graduated from medical school such as doctors, nurses and dentists.

He said healthcare workers who had already retired would also be called to help out in the vaccination programme.

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