Plan for vaccine to cover everybody eventually


IT’S welcome news that the government is proactively securing safe vaccines for the rakyat, hopefully by early next year (“Vaccines for 6.4 million M’sians next year”, The Star, Nov 28; online at bit.ly/star_2021). After enduring the Covid-19 pandemic for the past eight months, such a move can’t come too soon.

It’s also reassuring that the government is planning to provide free vaccines, and prioritising the most vulnerable groups first. But exactly how this is going to be done must be clearly spelt out and made known to the public.

And eventually, the plan must be able to cover everybody, in keeping with the government’s stated intention to leave no one behind. This would mean allocating more funds to the Health Ministry to purchase the vaccine as it becomes available.

Another matter that needs the attention of the authorities is the issue of negative comments on social media regarding the efficacy and safety of the vaccines. The ministry concerned must provide constant and complete information on the composition, efficacy and possible side effects of the vaccine. Safety in the use of the vaccines is uppermost on everyone’s mind now.

Currently, there are about 20 safe and effective viral vaccines available for use throughout the world. These vaccines provide complete protection against at least 14 diseases. It must be pointed out that multinational pharmaceutical companies cannot afford to sully their reputation by putting vaccines on the market that have not passed the most stringent tests.

Of course, there could be cases where the vaccine may not be effective for some individuals, just as there are drugs and medicines that do not have the same benefits for every single patient and may have some side effects. That however should not blind us to their advantages. We are talking about saving millions of lives and livelihoods. And right now, the solution is a vaccine.

But even if the vaccine becomes available, we must not take things for granted and we should still comply with all SOPs as the virus will remain in the environment.

TAN SRI LEE LAM THYE

Chairman, Alliance

For A Safe Community

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Covid-19 , vaccine , distribution , side effects

   

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