KUALA LUMPUR, JUNE 2 — Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii today called for more simplified and decentralised Covid-19 vaccination centres (PPVs) to speed up the vaccination rate.
The federal government and the Covid-19 Vaccine Supply Access Guarantee Special Committee (JKJAV) must remove bureaucratic “red tape” and recruit more general practitioner (GP) clinics to take part in vaccination efforts to achieve herd immunity by year-end, Dr Yii said.
He said the government should focus on decentralising the PPVs by opening up more small and medium-scale PPVs in different zones in each constituency.
“This will ease up the congestion in the large-scale PPVs as well as be more convenient for the public, especially the elderly so that they do not have to stand and queue up long in the crowd.
“By reducing the congestion in these large-scale PPVs, we will also then reduce the risk of spreading of the virus in the PPV itself, turning it into a possible unwanted cluster,” Dr Yii said in a statement.
The DAP lawmaker said more GPs must be roped in to help with Covid-19 vaccination through a more simplified recruitment system and an improved appointment system via MySejahtera. Administrative bureaucracy should also be reduced to allow small community GPs to play their part in expanding the country’s coronavirus vaccine coverage, he added.
National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK) coordinating minister Khairy Jamaluddin recently said a total of 2,467 GPs have signed up with ProtectHealth Corporation, the appointed implementor to manage the participation of private medical practitioners in PICK. There are some 8,000 private GP clinics nationwide.
Dr Yii said while the figure is encouraging, more must be done to recruit even more GPs, especially in semi-rural and rural areas, to provide comprehensive immunisation coverage for their local population.
The lawmaker said current requirements set by ProtechHealth can be simplified by reducing the required three-hour online training.
Additionally, the government can use its existing vaccine delivery network to distribute the vaccines directly to GP clinics, instead of requiring family physicians to collect the vaccines themselves from designated centres. This would cut off the need to source cool storage boxes and electronic temperature data needed to transport the vaccines.
Dr Yii said there was no need to reinvent networks and standard operating procedures as most GPs have years worth of experience in handling and administering vaccines.
“While there are about 2,500 GPs that have registered, we want to see a target of 5,000 or more GPs signing up to increase population coverage. Many members of the public may feel more comfortable to visit their own GP or family doctor to receive the vaccine and this may also help address some hesitancy,” Dr Yii said.
He said the formulation of a simpler appointment system or even a walk-in system for elderly and high-risk groups can only be carried out once there are more GPs available as Covid-19 vaccinators nationwide.
“While I am sure they are more than willing to play their part in this fight against Covid-19, they must be properly engaged and mobilised earlier rather than waiting until cases get more serious in the country.”