The Malaysian government is urged to re-strategise its vaccine rollout process by health experts to get more people vaccinated fast. Setting up mobile vaccination teams is one method suggested by the experts.
Alarming number of cases
There is an increasing number of Covid-19 cases, consistently chalking up more than the 6,000 mark for the past six days. These extremely high numbers are a major concern for the country.
Time for a change in vaccine strategy
The government could consider a “go-to-vaccinate” approach rather than a “come-to-be-vaccinated” one. According to former Malaysian Medical Association president, Professor Datuk Dr NKS Tharmaseelan, Malaysia has an excellent health delivery system.
“I think the vaccination strategy has to change. Instead of waiting (for the public) to come for vaccinations, mobile health teams should go and give the shots.”
Spread too far and wide
According to Dr Tharmaseelan, there are many Pusat Kesihatan, district hospitals and government health clinics (Klinik Kesihatan). The locations of these medical centers are far and wide to cater for all citizens.
Yesterday, Dr Tharmaseelan told the New Straits Times that “They could be mobilised to act as vaccination centers, with enhanced delivery, such as drive-thru vaccinations.“
The government should also allow many general practitioner (GP) clinics to participate in the immunization programme. This effectively will increase the number of people being vaccinated, says Dr Tharmaseelan.
Hours of waiting
Many who turn up for vaccination had to wait several hours before their turn to receive the vaccine. Dr Tharmaseelan says it is important to shorten the waiting time for vaccinations.
The long waiting period could discourage those who really want the vaccine, said Dr Tharmaseelan.
Dr Tharmaseelan feels allowing walk-ins for vaccination would be “more meaningful” in areas where defaulters were high.
Catering to walk-ins should not pose a logistical problem as there are numerous empty slots.
People not showing up
Dr Tharmaseelan says that the 10,000 people who did not show up, should have their appointments cancelled. Instead, those who did turn up could have been given the vaccines.
He was responding to reports from Kota Baru, Kelantan, where nearly 10,000 people failed to show up for their vaccination appointments. Dr Tharmaseelan said “Temporarily, the extra vaccine vials should be redirected to centers where there is a long waiting list, but those who did not turn up for their appointments should still be vaccinated.”
To achieve herd immunity in the country, those who were no-shows must still be vaccinated. Dr Tharmaseelan brought up this important point. He adds that the importance of vaccinations and its safety to the public must be emphasized by the government.
Reaching out to other communities
The authorities should approach heads of communities to arrange for transportation to vaccination centers. This is the view of virologist Associate Professor Dr Chee Hui Yee. Dr Chee emphasized that this step is vital to vaccinate the elderly.
Explanations on the benefits of vaccination could reach the masses through mobile broadcasts using vans, according to Dr Chee. She also says there should be opening up of more vaccination centers in collaboration with non-governmental organizations.
Dr Chee said volunteers or staff of vaccination centers should reconfirm appointments. They should make calls to those with appointments several days before their inoculation date.
Through this way, replacements for those who do not turn up, can be made with those on the waiting list.
Giving vaccines to those who want them is a good option, according to Dr Chee. She agrees that this idea implemented by the Special Committee for Covid-19 Vaccine Supply Access Guarantee’s approach for AstraZeneca vaccines was a “very good move”.
25th May 2021 23:00
This article brought to you by Legacy Times 传城时代