The Federal Government and the Special Committee on Covid-19 Vaccine Supply Access Guarantee (JKJAV) must reveal specifics of those that have received their appointments for Phase 2 Vaccinations by district and even sub-districts so we all can help monitor and help remove any obstacles for this group so that they do not miss out on their vaccination appointment that is that is scheduled to start on April 19th in some States.
Through these specific data, we can then properly identify specific locations where either registration is low or slow responds to appointment dates, then we can properly plan and activate the “whole-of society” approach to remove any obstacles to make sure they do not miss out on their appointments.
This is concerning because the ones receiving the dates now are the ones that are the priority for the vaccine programme. They are likely elderly and those with comorbidities, underlying diseases, OKUs who are part of the high-risk groups that if infected will likely develop more severe symptoms or even face death due to Covid-19.
Based on statistics, about 86.3%, or 1,126 cases, of the total 1,304 deaths in Malaysia due to Covid-19 recorded until Wednesday (April 7) were those with a history of comorbid diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes or the elderly.
These are the group that are receiving their appointments now and my concern is that if they miss it, they may be pushed back to the queue which is risky as they need to be protected as soon as possible.
While some cases maybe they are slow to reply, but in some cases maybe they are unaware of such appointments or could not be contacted.
That is why I urge the government to find ways to reach out and to contact those under priority. Some of the elderly probably is unfamiliar or do not know how to check for their appointment dates on MySejahtera.
Some may have received the phone call from the Health Department, but it may appear as an unknown number and some may not want to pick them up.
That is why the government must explore different options to look at reaching out to them, including calling next of kin or family members to make sure their elderly is aware of their appointments.
Generally, the medical records of such patients especially the elderly and those with comorbidities are with the hospitals and they could use that to help contact them in different ways if they are not responding. Those in the Private Sector could also send out reminders to patients in their database to firstly encourage to sign up for the programme, and then remind them to check and not miss their appointments.
Another database that could be used is the PekaB40 database especially for those for comorbidities. They could use this database to reach out to them to first and foremost get registered, and also to alert them once their appointment is set.
We do not want to see the vaccine go to waste, and even more for those who really needs the vaccine to miss their appointments because they were not aware.
Strategic communications and educational programmes and materials must continue to address hesitancy and concerns by the public, even those that may have second thoughts after registering, if not we will not achieve the desired 70-80% herd immunity.
The low registration rate especially those supposedly prioritised in Phase 2 is worrying, and strategic intervention should be in place to encourage them to register and also inform them properly once their appointment dates are out.
That is why, when my office do our Mobile Vaccine Registration counter, we make it a point to educate them how to check and be alert for any notifications of their appointment dates.
We need to make sure our elderly and those in the “high risk” and vulnerable groups are properly protected.
Kelvin Yii Lee Wuen
MP Bandar Kuching