Tan: Offer walk-in vaccinations for senior citizens, disabled struggling with online registration

Tan (right) speaking with a senior citizen about her registration for Covid-19 vaccination.

KUCHING, June 22: The government is being urged to start allowing walk-ins for Covid-19 vaccinations especially for senior citizens and disabled individuals with using just their MyKad as many of them are not tech-savvy enough to register online.

Former Stampin MP Julian Tan pointed out that Sarawak Democratic Action Party (DAP) has received many calls for help from senior citizens with many of them stressed out about not knowing how to use the MySejahtera app or to register online.

“There are also those who are not able to read the small print on their smartphone screens, apart from language barrier as currently, MySejahtera is only available in English or Bahasa Malaysia.

“As a result, many missed their appointments because they do not know how to navigate through the app. They are those who did not seek help from their children as they don’t want to burden them.

“Walk-ins should be allowed for this group and the disabled, as many are not that tech-savvy,” he said in a statement today.

He thus urged the government to re-evaluate its vaccination rollout strategy so as to enhance access to vaccination especially to reach those in the high-risk category as well as to increase the vaccination rate.

“The distress for senior citizens is real for not having registered or (are) still waiting for a life-saving vaccine against a disease that is killing many in their generation,” he added.

Tan, who is also a special assistant to Sarawak DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen, thus viewed that the hassles involved will further demotivate them including those still hesitant about Covid-19 vaccination which is crucial to protect them as well as their loved ones.

With regular shipments of vaccine supplies now, he noted that many young people have gotten their vaccination appointments with some almost immediately within a few days of registering.

“But, on the other hand, imagine the feeling of those senior citizens especially those with comorbidity who had registered months ahead and yet are still waiting for their appointments.

“(This is) Contrary to what Khairy Jamaluddin, the Science, Technology and Innovation Minister had said, the present system (MySejahtera) is able to prioritise senior citizens,” he added.

Noting the challenges in this kind of arrangement and the need for crowd control, Tan emphasised that this can be overcome by alloweing walk-ins according to age groups with designated vaccination centres for senior citizens and the disabled.

“Starting with the most senior, like those in their 80s and above, followed by the 70s and so on.

“If the turnout is big, we can narrow the age range to between 65-70. The numbering system will also help gauge the availability of the vaccines for that day.

“For the worst case scenario, if the turnout is overwhelming, they can continue the next day by putting up a big sign at a strategic location that ‘walk-ins’ are full on that day so people don’t need to get out of their car and can just leave,” he explained.

He believes that this system should be manageable with proper planning as it is better than those who should be prioritised for vaccination not having any appointment at all. — DayakDaily