Community leaders, NGOs urged to assist govt in Covid-19 vaccination programme in rural area

By Adrian Lim

PUTRAJAYA, Feb 17: Community leaders and non-government organisations (NGOs) have been urged to assist the government in the roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccine to the rural communities.

Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said they play important roles to assist the government in ensuring that the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK) will be a success.

“As far as NGOs and community leaders are concerned, we need them to assist on (providing information) foreign workers and undocumented migrants.

“First, reaching out to communities which may not have access to information for instance in deep interior areas or some Orang Asli settlements.

“So, we will need them to assist us in reaching out to these areas, helping us to register these communities who perhaps have no access to information about PICK.

“Secondly, is to assist us also in increasing the vaccine’s confidence.

“This is really where we need NGOs and community leaders to help us.

“We can have a communication plan at the national level but advocacy on the ground is very important for these people to work with the communities and say the (Covid-19) vaccine is safe.

“We need to vaccinate as many people as possible so that we are all safe,” he said during a virtual press conference today.

Khairy was responding to a question from a reporter who asked him on the roles of NGOs and community leaders during the implementation of PICK.

Khairy added the government will be identifying a few NGOs and community leaders to be in the Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF).

He earlier announced the establishment of the CITF which will ensure that PICK will be implemented smoothly.

On another note, Khairy said the government has identified the 300,000 medical frontliners who will receive the Covid-19 vaccine under the first phase of the vaccination programme which starts on Feb 26.

He assured that the government has worked out on the names and the location of the healthcare personnel through the Ministry of Health’s internal database and is contacting them on when and where to be vaccinated come next Friday (Feb 26).

Khairy, who is also the coordinating minister for PICK said the government is currently going through the list of frontliners from the non-medical sectors.

They include those from the Immigration Department, the police, armed forces and other essential front line services.

He said the government will inform the non-medical frontliners soon on whether they have been chosen to be jabbed under the first phase of PICK.

On the approach to be utilised by Malaysia, Khairy explained that the country will follow the guidelines from the manufacturer, Pzifer-BioNtech for two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine to be jabbed 21 days apart.

He noted the United Kingdom has used a different approach in terms of vaccination for its population.

Khairy said the country has prolonged the second dose of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine to its citizens from one month to between nine and 12 weeks.

He explained that the approach adopted by the UK was to inoculate its population as many as possible through a single dose of the Covid-19.

In the meantime, Khairy assured that there will be enough supplies for the first phase of the Covid-19 vaccine roll out in Malaysia.

He added one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine will be jabbed while another dose is kept at the storage centre of the Ministry of Health (MoH).

Khairy disclosed that the police will be looking after the security of the Covid-19 vaccine at the storage centre.

He added the armed forces will also assist to look after the security and the transportation of the Covid-19 vaccine throughout the country. —DayakDaily

Khairy addressing questions from reporters during a virtual press conference today. Screenshot is taken from Radio Television Malaysia (RTM).