Weekly Highlights

PN must expand the AstraZeneca vaccine registration program immediately.

The Covid-19 pandemic is increasing in severity. The death tolls are rising and hospitals are operating beyond capacity. Economically, we are dying a slow death. Socially, we have various critical problems like unemployment and a lost generation when it comes to education.

The government should certainly make more efforts to take a multi-pronged approach instead of making impulsive decisions without logical and scientific evidence to support their decisions.

While imposing MCO 3.0 may be necessary to flatten the curve, the government should be more proactive to find ways to increase the willingness of the people to register for the vaccine and be inoculated.

As of May 7, 2021, only 40.1% of the population have registered for COVID-19 vaccination program, which is far from the goal of 80% herd immunity the government has announced to achieve.

After the British AstraZeneca vaccine arrived in Malaysia, there was widespread hesitancy and fear from the public to receive the vaccine.

Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin (pictured) admitted that science and facts could not overcome public fear.

Misinformation that was circulating about this vaccine won public perception and people pulled back from being vaccinated. To avoid wasting a vaccine that is both safe and effective, the government adapted and curated an opt-in inoculation program for the AstraZeneca vaccine.

After the government opened the AstraZeneca vaccine to allow people who wanted to be vaccinated to register freely, the response was overwhelming. The appointment slots were filled in just three hours. Administration of the AstraZeneca vaccine voluntarily at specific vaccination centres in the Klang Valley is proving to be a good measure and is certainly a commendable move by Khairy Jamaluddin.

However, the first round of AstraZeneca vaccine registration was only opened for people living in Klang Valley. As a result, countless people in other states across the country who are willing to receive AstraZeneca vaccines have no way to register and be inoculated.

The government should immediately expand the AstraZeneca vaccine registration program to all states in the country, and set up vaccination centres in at least Johor, Penang and East Coast, so that people across the country who are willing to receive this vaccine have the same opportunity to register and be inoculated.

The government should also consider giving people more autonomy, allowing people to freely choose other types of vaccines if they want to, and also choose the location, date, and time of vaccination. This will greatly increase the willingness of people to be vaccinated.

Allowing people to choose the date, time and place by themselves can also solve everyone’s worries about “waiting” and arranging commitments around their vaccination schedules. Let us not be tone deaf to the concerns of the people in trying times like this.” – Teo Nie Ching

The national vaccination plan must be more humane in order to reach the goal of herd immunity as soon as possible.

Teo Nie Ching

MP for Kulai

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