Private hospitals still hope to procure own vaccines

by AZREEN HANI/ pic by BLOOMBERG

THE Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia (APHM) says the national vaccination programme will be strengthened further if it can procure vaccines on their own.

APHM president Datuk Dr Kuljit Singh said the association is grateful with the move to allow private hospitals to be used as vaccination centres, as the vaccines will be provided free by the government.

“However we are of the opinion that vaccination programme will further strengthen when private hospitals are able to procure their own vaccines for the economic front liners and public who require early vaccination for specific reasons,” Dr Kuljit said in a statement.

“The government will have to assist us in this process particularly when dealing with the manufacturers,” he added.

“We feel the two remaining phases of vaccine strategy should be reviewed so that there is some enhancement of the vaccination process. The high risk individuals in the second phase should not be left out but at the same time the third phase recipients should be considered to have their vaccines early,” Dr Kuljit added further.

On Monday, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba said that private hospitals will be involved in Phases 2 and 3 of the vaccination programme, to achieve the 80% population goal.

According to Dr Adham, private hospitals that wish to partake in the vaccination phases may register via protecthealth.com.my.

“The government will be giving free vaccinations to all hospitals that are chosen for the process,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dr Kuljit also asked for representatives from APHM to be included in the national vaccine committee to assist the government in managing the vaccine rollout in upcoming months.

Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar said that the government projects sufficient Covid-19 vaccine supply for 80 per cent of the Malaysian population by this October.

Sharing the projection on his Twitter, Khairy tweeted that from June onwards, Malaysia’s coronavirus vaccine supply will be in excess of demand, as he expressed certainty that the national Covid-19 vaccination programme could be completed before year-end

APHM also raised concerns on the acceptability of MySejahtera application with most countries in recognising Malaysia’s Digital Vaccination Certificate, particularly when citizens need to travel.

“Our concerns remain on the arrival of medical tourists from other countries and the recognition of their vaccination and testing status. The need to restart the economy is essential,” he said further.

The Malaysian Reserve reported economist’s concerns that the idea of a vaccine passport could lead to issues on ethics, security and geopolitics, which would pose challenges to the hoped-for tourism recovery.

Moody’s Analytics assistant director and economist Xiao Chun Xu said an easily accessible digital transcript of the population’s Covid-19 health records raises concerns about data security and confidentiality, in addition to uncertainty regarding verification and authentication.