KUALA LUMPUR, March 15 — Counsel from treating physicians across the public and private sectors is the best method to increase Covid-19 vaccine registration among elderly people, Khairy Jamaluddin said today.
A small survey by CodeBlue revealed that most interviewees aged above 60 with comorbidities are still reluctant to register for Covid-19 shots, although they’re generally familiar with the MySejahtera application.
“I think the most effective way of doing it will be through their own physicians when they come for appointments at the hospitals and the clinics and can encourage them to get the vaccine,” Vaccine Minister Khairy told a press conference.
“We are also working together with NGOs, elected representatives, and other government agencies like the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development to help register the elderly, especially those who are at senior citizens’ activity centre (Pusat Aktiviti Warga Emas), those who belong to NGOs to encourage them to sign-up.
“We also will be having communications campaigns specifically targeting the senior citizens and educating them about the vaccines.”
The government aims to move into Phase Two of the national Covid-19 inoculation drive on April 1, targeting 9.4 million of the population aged above 60 or those with underlying medical conditions. These are the people who are more likely to suffer severe disease or death from Covid-19.
Khairy stated that the government foresees a much slower vaccine registration pace among senior citizens in the country initially.
Public health expert Dr Lokman Hakim Sulaiman stated that elderly people should be vaccinated by August this year, thus emphasised on the public Covid-19 inoculation drive to pick up speed for the elderly. Otherwise, based on the current pace, he projected seven months to inoculate 3.5 million people above the age of 60.
However, Khairy hopes that the government’s strategies to pull more elderly people in to be inoculated will see an increase in the vaccine registration rate.
The second phase for high-risk groups like the elderly and people with comorbidities is scheduled to run from April to August.