PETALING JAYA: Those who have delivered empty jabs when vaccinating the public against Covid-19 must be severely punished, says Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye.
The Alliance for Safe Community chairman said such “miscreants” should not be dismissed with a warning, but punished to match the offence committed.
“So far, the Health Ministry and those involved have done praise-worthy and commendable work.
“It must take every action now to ensure its reputation is not sullied by the acts of irresponsible people,” he said in a statement on Saturday (Oct 2).
Lee was referring to a video clip purportedly showing an adolescent boy receiving a jab with an empty syringe that went viral on social media.
Regretting the incident, Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force-Adolescent (CITF-A) chairman Datuk Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali had said the inoculation of the 12-year-old with an empty syringe was due to human error.
Dr Noor Azmi clarified that the medical staff mistakenly took an empty syringe that had not been used, instead of a syringe that had been filled with the vaccine earlier.
Although these may be isolated cases, Lee said they are serious enough to affect public confidence in the immunisation exercise.
“It is crucial that the authorities do not trivialise this matter by saying that these incidents were the result of work fatigue.
“This incident is yet another blow to perceptions of government integrity which should quickly be corrected,” he said.
While a police report was made and action taken, Lee said it is of utmost importance for the authorities to reassure the public that such incidents will not recur.
“The authorities must release the results of their investigation into previous allegations of fake vaccines that made their first appearance many months ago.
“Let’s not wait for another similar video to make its rounds before the authorities respond.
“Restoring confidence in the vaccination process cannot wait, should not be compromised, and should be given the highest priority,” he added.