We’ll keep improving Pikas, says Azmin

Well done: Azmin and Chow sharing a light moment with factory worker Ong Hock Keah, 48, after his vaccination at Bukit Jawi Golf Resort in Nibong Tebal. — ZHAFARAN NASIB/The Star

NIBONG TEBAL: More than 1, 733 companies with a total of 280, 820 employees have registered for the Public-Private Partnership Covid-19 Industry Immunisation Programme (Pikas), says International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali.

He said out of this, 186 companies with 139, 851 employees were from Penang.

“Based on these applications, we need to look at the facilities provided by current vaccine dispensing centres (PPVs).

“If they’re not sufficient, we will add them according to the needs of industries in that particular area, ” he told reporters after visiting the Pikas vaccination centre at the Bukit Jawi Golf Resort yesterday.

He added that Penang had applied for three more PPVs to be set up.

For Pikas, Azmin said there were two models to implement the programme.

In the first model, vaccinations would be done on the site of the company if it had more than 1, 000 employees; in the second, employers would go to a common PPV set aside for employees of small and medium companies.

“The criteria is to have at least five main stations, namely for screening, registration, consultation, vaccination and observation. The Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF) will ensure all requirements are fulfilled.

“So far, six common PPVs have started nationwide as pilot projects, ” he added.

Azmin said the vaccination rate would also depend on the vaccine supply, adding that the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry and Health Ministry had ensured that there would be more stocks by August, with a big portion being allocated to key economic sectors.

With 960 employees of Micron Memory Malaysia Sdn Bhd vaccinated at the golf resort on Wednesday and yesterday, Azmin said the centre here would ramp up its vaccination rate to 1, 000 daily with a maximum capacity of 1, 500 doses daily.

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow, who was also present, said there were an estimated 300, 000 factory workers in Penang, adding that the state was working towards increasing the number of Pikas centres.

Penang aims to achieve state-wide herd immunity by August, vaccinating 70% of its population or 1.38 million people by then.

Currently, Penang has one mega PPV at Setia Spice Arena and five smaller PPVs at Caring Society Complex, Balik Pulau Sports Complex, Dewan Millenium, Dewan Serbaguna Jawi and Seberang Prai Arena Convention Centre.

Centres have also been set up at six private hospitals.

Two more PPVs have been set up at the Penang Pesta site and Seberang Jaya expo site, while another three at Dewan Balai Rakyat Bayan Baru, Pusat Konvensyen Perda and Dewan Serbaguna Sungai Bakap are in the pipeline.

Azmin and Chow also visited two factories – Intel Technology Sdn Bhd and Jabil Circuits Sdn Bhd, both in the Bayan Lepas Free Industrial Zone – that have set up on-site vaccination centres that are awaiting approval.

Intel aims to dispense 1, 000 vaccine doses daily, targeting about 8, 400 of its on-site employees and 13, 100 who are working from home.

Jabil aims to dispense between 1, 200 and 1, 500 doses of vaccine daily. The company has 15, 000 workers.

There are plans to open the vaccination centre to other companies in the industrial zone and community as part of its corporate social responsibility initiative.

The centre incorporates artificial intelligence features for employees to scan in and out, and track those who have been vaccinated.

Azmin said these two vaccination centres were anticipated to be fully operational by the end of the month once they had been inspected and secured approval from CITF.

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