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By Karen Bong
KUCHING, June 2: The Federal government needs to simplify the recruitment process to rope in more general practitioners (GP) clinics and set up more small and medium scale vaccination centres (PPVs) so as to greatly expand vaccine coverage in local communities.
Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii emphasised that the government must take proactive steps to step up vaccination efforts in the country especially if it wants to achieve herd immunity by year end.
“The Covid-19 Vaccine Supply Access Guarantee Special Committee (JKJAV) must look into ways to simplify the recruitment process and remove any unnecessary ‘red tape’ to further encourage and recruit more from the private healthcare sector including GP clinics to help speed up the country’s vaccination efforts.
“According to Vaccine Coordinating Minister Khairy Jammaludin, there are currently 2,467 GPs that have signed up with Protect Health Corporation and appointed as implementer as part of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Program (NCIP),” he noted in a statement today.
While this is encouraging, Dr Yii, who is also Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) chairman on health, science and innovation, however said that more must be done to engage and enable more community GPs to provide a comprehensive immunisation coverage for their local populations.
He also suggested cutting the ‘red tape’ involved in the process, including the required three-hour online training as most GPs are experienced in handling and administering vaccines and getting GPs to collect vaccines at designated centres when the government can utilise its existing vaccine delivery network to make delivery directly to GPs.
“This will help relieve the need for GPs to source and purchase the necessary ‘cool boxes’ and electronic temperature data logger needed for transportation.
“A more simplified recruitment system and improved appointment system through MySejahtera is crucial so that even the small community GPs can play their part in expanding vaccine coverage,” he added.
He hopes to see 5,000 GPs signed up to be implementers and boost the vaccination efforts in the country.
“With more GPs participating in the vaccination effort, then we can formulate a simpler appointment system or even a walk-in system like what has been done in Singapore,” he said.
As the government’s current strategy was more focused on mass vaccination centres, Dr Yii thinks that it would be better to decentralise the PPVs by opening up small and medium scale PPVs to cater to communities in each constituency.
“Furthermore, this will ease congestion at the large-scale PPVs and offer more convenience to the public so that they don’t have to travel far and especially the elderly so that they do not have to stand and queue long in the crowd.
“This will also reduce the risk of spreading of the virus in the PPV and prevent unwanted clusters from emerging.”
To ensure a smoother and effective implementation of the nationwide vaccination programme, Dr Yii urged the government to take proactive steps to engage all doctor groups to better understand their concerns and feedback so as to improve vaccination strategies.
“I am sure they are more than willing to play their part in this fight against Covid-19, but they must be properly engaged and mobilised early rather than waiting until cases get more serious in the country,” he added. — DayakDaily