By Peter Sibon
KUCHING, Feb 18: The government’s move to provide free vaccination for all Malaysians and non-citizens against Covid-19 is welcomed by the Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) as all industries have been badly affected by the pandemic, said MEF chief executive officer Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan.
“The decision made by the government to provide free vaccination to all is a really a welcoming news for us especially during this hard time.
“We really tried our best to keep our workers but sad to say there were at least 32,000 businesses forced to close down since the pandemic struck last year.
“So, we estimated that more than 100,000 people have lost their jobs or have been retrenched,” Shamsuddin told DayakDaily when contacted today.
He added that for those business which managed to stay afloat, they still have to keep their high cost of operations with lesser returns.
“With the vaccination, it would also ensure that at least 80 per cent of Malaysians would be vaccinated and this would result in herd immunity which is crucial for economic recovery,” he said.
Shamsuddin was commenting on Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s announcement on the free vaccination plan guidebook that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines would arrive on Sunday (Feb 21), ahead of the scheduled Feb 26 roll-out of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme.
It was reported that around 500,000 frontiners, a majority of them healthcare workers, will be the first to be vaccinated.
“Among those who have close contact with the public are MPs and state assemblymen. Whether they are with the government or opposition, they will be vaccinated in the first phase,” Muhyiddin said after the launch on vaccination plan guidebook on Feb 16.
The first phase will end in April and vaccines will then be made available to 9.4 million people in high-risk groups, such as those with certain diseases, those above the age of 65 and other medical professionals.
The rest of adults living in Malaysia, including foreign workers, will be eligible for vaccination between May and next February.
Malaysia previously said that it had secured enough vaccines to cover nearly all of its 33 million population. The target is to vaccinate 80 per cent of all adults by the end of the year or by February next year at the latest.
The first batch of vaccines arriving on Sunday will contain 312,390 doses. Each individual needs two doses. Malaysia has secured 12.8 million doses from Pfizer-BioNTech. — DayakDaily