Vaccines for the stateless

I AM sad to see that the Health Ministry is paying no attention to the plight of people with no citizenship, especially children between the ages of 12 and 18 years.

This is especially heart-rending when the child is only 14 years old and suffering from systemic lupus erythema (SLE). For over one year, this child, who is my niece, has not been able to consult her doctors face-to-face at Selayang Hospital.

Although her next appointment to see them was scheduled for this month, for her safety we have postponed it to November. This is because people with SLE have low immunity, and the risk of being infected with Covid-19 is very high unless they are vaccinated against it.

Her father has registered her via MySejahtera for vaccination, but there has been no response so far from the authorities concerned. A few friends have also sent inquiries to MySejahtera about the matter, but all have received no reply except an auto-generated message.

The girl’s father had taken half a day off work to get her vaccinated at a walk-in centre, but they were told by staff at the centre that they could not vaccinate children below 18.

My niece needs to be fully vaccinated before she can consult her doctors, and we have a letter from them to certify that she is fit to get a Covid-19 jab.

I have also contacted a few private clinics from a list provided by a friend. The list has the Health Ministry’s logo on it.

We’ve heard Kulai MP Teo Nie Ching urging the Health Ministry to allow stateless people in the country to be vaccinated. But when we contacted the ministry about this matter, we were given the runaround.

For the well-being of my niece, I hope she can be vaccinated soon so that she can resume normal consultations with the specialists treating her for SLE.

I find it hard to believe that the Health Ministry would not consider the case of an autoimmune patient as a priority.

How many cases are there of such individuals? Why can’t some arrangements be made for them to be vaccinated since they have letters from their doctors to support their case?

It makes us wonder whether this is discrimination against stateless people in this country. My niece is an innocent child and it is time for the government to understand her plight and that of the stateless people like her.


Kuala Lumpur

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