Thumbs up for walk-ins from social activists and experts

PETALING JAYA: Opening up walk-in vaccinations to people aged 40 and above as well as persons with comorbidities in the Klang Valley will accelerate the country’s efforts to achieve herd immunity, say social activists and health experts.

Alliance for Safe Community chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said walk-in vaccinations would certainly allow more people to be vaccinated, especially those who have not received their appointments or are not registered in the system.

“The walk-in vaccinations will also help contribute to the government’s aims of achieving herd immunity in the country,” he said when contacted yesterday.

However, Lee also expressed concerns that walk-in vaccinations would result in overcrowding at vaccination centres (PPV) if no clear directions were given to the public.

As such, PPV offering walk-in vaccinations must be well managed to prevent overcrowding, he said.

“There’s so much news circulating these days that people may not know what the truth is, so this issue must be made clear to avoid confusion,” he said.

Yesterday, National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme coordinating minister Khairy Jamaluddin announced that walk-in vaccinations in the Klang Valley would start tomorrow for people with comorbidities and those aged 40 and above.

He added that walk-in vaccinations would be opened to everyone above 18 years of age in the Klang Valley on Thursday.

But not all PPV would be open for walk-ins, and the list of these selected vaccination centres would be issued by the Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force, he said.

Malaysian Public Health Physicians’ Association president Datuk Dr Zainal Ariffin Omar said walk-in vaccinations would speed up the process in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur, especially among those who have not registered themselves as well as persons who do not have valid documents.

“These walk-ins will be a great help,” he said.

To prevent overcrowding and delays at PPV offering walk-in jabs, Dr Zainal said a system must be devised, such as a special time, place or designated lane to ensure a smooth process.

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia health economics, hospital and health management Prof Dr Sharifa Ezat Wan Puteh said walk-in PPV would help to ramp up the vaccination effort.

She noted that walk-in vaccinations were already practised in other countries.

“It’s good to support our other PPV and to assure people that our vaccination process is friendly and not intimidating.

“We still need to monitor crowd control and quality aspects of walk-in PPV,” she said, adding that the number of centres must align with the population density and the anticipated attendance of vaccine recipients.

She also said failure to control and manage the PPV might lead to overcrowding and congestion.

“For the staff (at the PPV), they have to ensure that they, too, are safe by double-masking and have completed their vaccinations,” she added.

Dr Sharifa also said that walk-ins were also useful especially for those in the rural community who might not know how to use the MySejahtera app to register for vaccination.

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