All Private Health Workers Getting Covid-19 Jab By April: Khairy

CITF has listed additional frontline workers for Covid-19 vaccination, bringing the total targeted frontliners in Phase 1 of PICK to 647,398 from the original 500,175 individuals.

KUALA LUMPUR, March 29 — Khairy Jamaluddin today assured private health care workers who have not gotten Covid-19 vaccination yet that they would receive at least their first dose by April.

The vaccine minister said Melaka would start to vaccinate some private health care workers who have not yet received the Covid-19 vaccine, after the Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF) identified this issue last week, while the remaining general practitioners (GPs) and other private health care providers in Selangor would get their shots in the next one or two weeks.

He added that 90 per cent of the 500,175 frontliners across the medical and non-medical sectors that CITF originally listed for the first phase of the national Covid-19 immunisation programme (PICK) have already received their first dose, as of yesterday.

On March 10, CITF added more frontline workers to the list, increasing the target number of Phase One vaccine recipients to 647,398 individuals. 

“We’ll be completing that within the next two weeks, the first dose,” Khairy told a virtual press conference today on PICK.

CodeBlue had asked Khairy about the progress of vaccinating private health care workers, after receiving complaints that the majority of private GPs in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor, as well as private hospital staff in Melaka and small towns in Sarawak, had not yet received even their first Covid-19 shot.

The science, technology and innovation minister explained that the inoculation of health care workers in the first phase of the national Covid-19 vaccination programme depends on whether or not their names were manually registered by their place of work for PICK, known as line-listing. 

While the Ministry of Health employs a significant proportion of health care workers, particularly those directly involved in managing the Covid-19 epidemic, a large number of medical staff and other health care providers also work in public teaching hospitals, military hospitals, as well as private hospitals and clinics. GPs are mostly solo medical practitioners.

“We’re hopeful that hospitals, as well as the Pejabat Kesihatan Daerah and Jabatan Kesihatan Negeri have not forgotten anyone in the line-listing — making sure that everyone who is qualified receives it. That’s a manual thing that we’re looking at right now,” Khairy said. 

“I’ve instructed Dr Chong to speak with all the state health directors to ensure that all medical frontliners, whether they’re in the public or private health care system, are listed out and sorted out and vaccinated by the month of April, at least the first dose,” he added, referring to Health deputy director-general (public health) Dr Chong Chee Keong.

Khairy also found that private GPs did not have large vaccination capacity, saying each clinic can only administer about 30 doses a day or so, which would not contribute significantly to PICK’s throughput.

“What we’re asking from GPs now is to reach out to their patients and to send the list of patients, much as we’ve done in Phase One, to the MySejahtera system. Then we can linelist these patients who prefer to go to their GPs and make arrangements for vaccines to be sent,” the vaccine minister said.

“The Pfizer vaccine is a little bit challenging to handle, so this will have to be done with the GPs very carefully, especially GPs coming to the Pusat Simpanan Vaksin to pick up the required numbers in order for them to vaccinate patients during the day.

“We’ve informed private general practitioners to provide us with an indicative list of their patients who would want to be vaccinated at chosen general practitioners.”

There are some 7,000 private GPs across the country.

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