Decentralise vaccination, says Bukit Gasing rep

He says the recent act of ceasing private GPs’ participation has also increased the traffic in all the 13 centralised PPVs

by S BIRRUNTHA / pic by TMR FILE

THE Covid-19 Vaccine Supply Access Guarantee Special Committee (JKJAV) should immediately decentralise the vaccination process and allow all general practitioners (GPs) who want to administer the vaccine to partake, Bukit Gasing state assemblyman Rajiv Rishyakaran said.

He condemned the government’s centralising of vaccination to 13 vaccination centres (PPVs) in the Klang Valley as “foolish”, adding that the move was based on inaccurate statistics.

“The recent act of ceasing private GPs’ participation in the vaccination programme has also increased the traffic in all these 13 PPVs.

“I understand that some mega PPVs should be shut down as the demand has slowed, but it does not justify the discontinuation of the vaccination through the local GPs clinics.

“It is truly disappointing,” he said in a statement yesterday.

According to Rajiv, the line of people at the MBPJ Civic Hall walk-in vaccination centre in his constituency has been snaking with cars and people crowding the area.

He added that Bukit Gasing residents have raised concerns over the issue and are afraid that this vaccination process might cause an outbreak.

He noted that this concern is very real, especially when people are lining up to get in the first-come-first-serve list from all over the Klang Valley.

“For the longest time, I have been calling to allow all GPs to administer vaccines, especially because they are closer to people and they do not have to travel far to receive their shots.

“Allowing 300 GPs to freely operate also means that the residents do not have to queue for hours to obtain a shot. The sense of urgency and rush is created with the shutdown of multiple PPVs in the Klang Valley,” he added.

Rajiv emphasised that allowing GPs, who are interested in operating consistently with a stable flow of vaccines, reassures the residents that vaccines are available.

He added that this will not put them in risky situations, such as overcrowding the PPVs. Rajiv also said that decentralising the vaccination process will allow undocumented migrant workers to feel safer walking into a clinic they already trust to go for their medical needs.

He said the Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF) has acknowledged that vaccinating migrant workers poses a challenge, however, mobilising these private clinics instils a sense of confidence that will encourage them to get vaccinated.

“Expecting them to go into a PPV where there are armed officials makes us delusional as it takes a lot of courage to show up.

“Some have already done it, however, we are not aware of the numbers who have yet to come forward. Vaccinating everyone is vital and this would be a step in the right direction.”

Comparing 300 clinics to 13 mega PPVs, he stressed that 300 clinics would certainly make vaccination more accessible.

“In the aim to vaccinate, let’s make getting the jab easy and near, and let us not further spread this deadly virus by forcing them to congregate.”

Separately, Malaysian Medical Association president Prof Datuk Dr Subramaniam Muniandy condemned the halting of GPs’ participation in the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (NCIP), saying that the CITF had not provided any rationale for it or whether they are giving privately procured vaccinations.

“Is it not the goal to vaccinate as many people as possible and achieve herd immunity in the quickest time possible?

“Also, how is it even possible that 107.7% of adults in the Klang Valley have received their first dose? There are still many who have not even registered for the vaccine and this includes the high undocumented migrant population,” he said in a statement.

“Of course, the private GPs have contributed to only 5% of the vaccinations in the Klang Valley because it was never in the CITF’s plans to prioritise GP participation from the beginning,” he added.

Echoing Rajiv’s sentiment, Dr Subramaniam said many Malaysians are puzzled over why they have to travel to PPVs instead of walking five minutes to their neighbourhood private GP clinic to get vaccinated.

“These are very difficult times and the cost of travelling can be a burden for some.”

With GPs now no longer involved in the NCIP, Dr Subramaniam said it is safe to assume that they will not be participating in the vaccination of 12- to 17-year-old minors, which is to begin in three weeks’ time.