IT was reported recently that only eight million Malaysians have registered so far for the Covid-19 vaccination. For a country that has one of the highest smartphone penetration rates in South-East Asia this is totally unacceptable. There are many theories about why Malaysians are delaying registering, but let’s not get into that.
Rather then focusing resources on the whys, let’s look into alternatives to increase registration numbers. One way is to make vaccination mandatory, as recently suggested by the government. Tough measures need to be taken to ensure that we reach herd immunity as soon as possible and avoid strain mutations.
I think the government should automatically register the population using the MySejahtera app, and data from the National Registration Department, the university and school census, and the hospital census. Most of this information is already available online, it just needs integration.
We then just need to send the vaccination acceptance link to everyone and let them decide yes or no. Those that say no should be required to provide an explanation for their refusal. Only then can we increase vaccination registration as well as understand anti-vaxxers.
Another way is to use social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook to conduct online opinion polls on vaccination. We are still in the dark about why Malaysians are delaying their registration.
We need to be innovative and creative in getting information from the population as these are not normal circumstances.
DR ARULKUMARAN VIAPURI
Occupational health doctor