ADUN SPEAKS | Yesterday, we read in the news about Malaysians working in Singapore receiving their Covid-19 vaccination shots.
Singapore started vaccinating its citizens on Dec 30, 2020 and President Jodo Widodo kicked off Indonesia’s mass vaccination drive on Jan 13, 2021 with a plan to vaccinate 181.5 million of its people by March next year.
Malaysians instead are left wondering when it will be their turn next to be vaccinated.
We are still waiting for the government to unveil the country’s vaccination plan.
Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin in December had said that the government’s Covid-19 Vaccine Supplies Access Guarantee Special Committee (JKJAV) which he co-chairs, will table the country’s national vaccination programme to cabinet in early January 2021.
It’s already Jan 18 and we still have not got any government feedback on it.
Very soon next month, we are expecting to receive the first batch of one million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine.
And yet, to this date, no details have been announced by the government as to how the vaccination will be carried out, how many people will be inoculated from this first batch of vaccine, when the vaccination will start, or how those people who wish to be vaccinated can register with the government to receive the vaccine.
Khairy had previously also stated that based on the government’s timeline, those aged 60 and below, who are healthy and not frontliners, can only expect to receive the vaccine, at the earliest, in the third quarter of this year, and further according to the minister, Malaysia’s vaccination plan will take up to 18 months to complete – which is just preposterous.
The plan to vaccinate 26.5 million Malaysians over 18 months is a far cry from Indonesia’s plan to vaccinate 181.5 million people by March of next year, or that of the UK’s plan to vaccinate all of its adult population by mid-July of this year.
So far, the UK has already vaccinated more than 3.5 million people and is on track to vaccinate everyone in the most vulnerable group, which is 15 million people, by the middle of next month.
In this grave moment when we are faced with soaring infection rates and with our public health system at breaking point, it is critical for the government to be able to rapidly and efficiently roll out and deploy vaccination for everyone who requires it in the shortest period possible.
In view that we will be receiving the first batch of the Pfizer vaccine in just a matter of weeks, it is of utmost national urgency for the government to come out with the national vaccination programme without any further delays, and to be accountable with full details of the vaccine delivery programme to be disclosed to the public.
GOOI HSIAO LEUNG is the PKR assemblyperson for Bukit Tengah and former Alor Setar MP.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.