Minister: Teachers with co-morbidity can qualify for first phase of Covid-19 vaccine

Alyaa Alhadjri
·3-min read
Minister: Teachers with co-morbidity can qualify for first phase of Covid-19 vaccine
Minister: Teachers with co-morbidity can qualify for first phase of Covid-19 vaccine

COVID-19 | Teachers with co-morbidity and at high risk of a negative outcome from a Covid-19 infection can be considered as a candidate for early vaccination ahead of schools reopening on March 8.

Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the government has received applications from various groups, including teachers, to be included in the first phase of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme.

"The request from teachers is a reasonable one, seeing that schools will be reopened in March.

"We have constraints because of the supply obviously. We only have 1 million doses for the first phase and we have already registered 500,000 frontliners from the health and non-health sector," he said at a press conference after the arrival of the first batch of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at KLIA this morning.

"But I have discussed with the (Health) DG (Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah) just now.

"We will bring this request up next week and we will ask the education minister to list down the priority from the teachers' list," Khairy added.

The coordinating minister for the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme explained the priority list would comprise teachers with co-morbidity and at high risk.

"So the short answer is yes, we will try to accommodate teachers. We will try to accommodate some of the frontline media (too), subject to availability," he added.

Aside from teachers, various media organisations including the National Union of Journalists Malaysia have also requested for consideration to be included as early recipients of the Pfizer vaccine.

Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin
Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin

Education Minister Mohd Radzi Md Jidin on Friday announced schools would be reopened in stages starting March.

Pre-schoolers, Primary 1 and 2 students will be back in school on March 1; those in primaries 3 to 6 will resume schooling on March 8; and secondary schools will reopen starting on April 5.

'Undocumented migrants will not be arrested'

Meanwhile, Khairy reiterated the government's commitment to work with international organisations including the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and secure participation of undocumented migrants.

He said this was based on the concerns from undocumented migrants that they risk being arrested should they come forward for vaccination.

"We are getting the message out that we will not detain them. We want them to be vaccinated because this is very important for our strategy to get herd immunity.

"Because we want to ensure they trust the message of coming out without fear of being detained, we will be using international organisations and civil society organisations to help us," said Khairy.

The minister added that he will meet with the relevant groups soon to discuss working together.

"(This is) so we can have a convincing plan for undocumented migrants to come forward and get vaccinated, with the knowledge that they will be safe from detention," he said.

Last year, immigration officers conducted several large scale raids in areas placed under enhanced movement control order and arrested hundreds of undocumented migrants.

In one raid in central Kuala Lumpur in May, eyewitnesses said that door-to-door checks were conducted and those without documentation were taken away in trucks.

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