KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 29 — Pakatan Harapan (PH) today urged the federal government to include its elected representatives in the Covid-19 Vaccine Supply Access Guarantee Special Committee (JKJAV).
The Opposition coalition has set up an immunisation task force, chaired by former Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad, comprising former deputy health minister Dr Lee Boon Chye, Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii (DAP), Lumut MP Dr Mohd Hatta Ramli (Amanah), Bayan Baru MP Sim Tze Tzin (PKR), Bangi MP Ong Kian Ming (DAP).
The PH Immunisation Task Force also includes state executive councillors in charge of health from states helmed by PH, namely Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud (Selangor), Dr Norlela Ariffin (Penang), and S. Veerapan (Negeri Sembilan).
“For the sake of public interest and the country’s future, Pakatan Harapan intends to cross the political divide to work with the government. We hope that this step will convince the people to get immunised,” Dzulkefly said in a statement today.
“We also wish to call on the federal government in the spirit of bipartisanship to involve Pakatan Harapan representatives in the Covid-19 Vaccine Supply Access Guarantee Special Committee (JKJAV). The inclusion of PH representatives in the JKJAV will send a message to the people that the National Immunisation Plan supersedes politics and receives support nationwide.”
Dzulkefly explained that the PH Immunisation Task Force was aimed at building confidence in the national Covid-19 vaccination programme; recruiting all elected PH representatives to communicate vaccination benefits and to coordinate inoculation programmes in their constituencies; and to work with medical experts, stakeholders, and non-government organisations (NGOs) to monitor the national Covid-19 vaccination campaign.
The JKJAV, co-led by Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin and Health Minister Dr Adham Baba, comprises representatives from the Ministry of Health (MOH); the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation; as well as other federal agencies.
In an exclusive interview with CodeBlue last Monday, Khairy said the national Covid-19 vaccination programme will start in February, targeting 75,000 daily shots to the arm from March and subsequently, 150,000 jabs a day by the middle of the year. Mass vaccination sites running 24 hours a day, such as stadiums, are being planned, aside from 600 vaccination sites comprising public and private clinics and hospitals, including military and university hospitals, that have been identified.
More than 10,000 vaccination staff, including private general practitioners (GPs), pharmacists, nurses, and community volunteers, aside from MOH health workers, are expected to be recruited.
The minister also revealed that the first batch of 144,000 doses from Pfizer-BioNTech will arrive in Malaysia next month. The 41.1 million Covid-19 vaccine doses from Pfizer, Sinovac, AstraZeneca, Russia’s Gamaleya Institute, and CanSino (single-dose regimen) with set delivery schedules for Malaysia this year covers 22.3 million people.
Combined with the additional 12.2 million Pfizer doses for 6.1 million people, and 6.4 million doses from the global COVAX Facility for 3.2 million people, Malaysia’s total coronavirus vaccine supply to date will cover 31.6 million people, or 98.75 per cent of the 32-million population. The government aims to inoculate 27 million adults, or more than 80 per cent of the population, earliest by this December.
Both Opposition and government MPs have accused the Perikatan Nasional (PN) administration of a slow Covid-19 vaccine rollout, as neighbouring countries like Singapore, Indonesia, and Myanmar have already launched their coronavirus vaccination drives.
Thailand announced earlier today that it may have to postpone the February 14 launch of its Covid-19 vaccination programme due to European Union (EU) vaccine export restrictions. Thailand had ordered AstraZeneca shots.