KUALA LUMPUR, March 5 — A Selangor state assemblyman today called for the private sector to import Covid-19 vaccines and provide vaccination services to the public, once frontliners are inoculated.
Bukit Gasing assemblyman Rajiv Rishyakaran said a Covid-19 vaccine rollout in the private sector would give people a choice in selecting their preferred vaccine.
“Firstly, with various vaccine providers in the market with varying reviews on its efficacy, the public should be given the opportunity to purchase the vaccine of their choice.
“This is a pertinent point especially when the government has emphasised that those getting vaccinations from the public sector will not get to choose their preferred vaccine,” Rajiv said in a statement.
Scientists say that people should take any Covid-19 vaccine approved by regulators. Malaysian regulators have so far approved the Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca-Oxford University, and Sinovac vaccines.
Rajiv also pointed out that many individuals may want to get vaccinated faster, whether for travel, business, or education reasons.
“A person may need to be vaccinated due to requirements from a foreign authority or country. Allowing the private sector to participate will give that choice to individuals, to either wait for their turn or opt for private hospital vaccination,” said the DAP lawmaker.
The government aims to vaccinate 80 per cent of the population, or 26 million adults, latest by February 2022 or this December. The second phase of the national Covid-19 vaccination programme, expected to start next month, targets 9.4 million people among the elderly aged above 60 and those with underlying health conditions.
Rajiv stressed that expediting the national coronavirus vaccine rollout through private sector participation, even by two or three months, would reap huge economic benefits for Malaysia, amid failing businesses.
“I strongly believe that a public-private collaboration might just be what we need to win this war against the pandemic. Hence, the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) should initiate this collaboration for when the global market is ready to supply vaccines in higher quantities.”