Pharmacists should be prioritised for booster shots: MPS

by NURUL SUHAIDI/ pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

THE Malaysian Pharmacists Society (MPS) is appealing to the government to consider the community pharmacists to be given the priority for the booster shots vaccine alongside general practitioners.

MPS president, Amrahi Buang said this is critical because pharmacists are regarded as front liners of the private primary healthcare sector.

He said this in response to the announcement made by Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin on administering booster vaccine shots for high-risk groups and front liners.

As more mega vaccination centers (PPVs) are being closed, Amrahi added that this is the right time to include community pharmacists which are also the vaccinators in order to ensure that the Covid-19 booster shots remain accessible to the public.

Additionally, MPS in partnership with Universiti Sains Malaysia has developed the Certified Training Programme On Immunisation for Pharmacists (CTPIP) to ensure our community pharmacists are competent to administer vaccines.

MPS also noted that the National Security Council had included the additional implementation of using Covid-19 Saliva Test kits results for the proposed Labuan travel bubble take-off.

Apart from Langkawi, Labuan is also working on reopening tourism for domestic travelers.

MPS also urged the government to allow community pharmacists to authorise saliva self-test kits for travellers’ ease.

“This will better accommodate travelers because saliva self-test kits are less expensive than RT-PCR nasopharyngeal swabs and are easily available for public purchase at community pharmacies,” he said.

“This is to ensure the convenience for travelers, as community pharmacists are the most easily accessible healthcare providers and are more than qualified to interpret the results.” 

MPS said that currently, Ministry of Health Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) stated that only registered medical practitioners in the private sector and MOH health officers have the authority to certify the results.

MPS is also suggesting the suppliers to print or provide a QR code on the packaging of the test kits which links to instruction videos and infographics in each language for public convenience.