Penang exco calls for decentralisation of Covid-19 vaccine procurement to get more shots in arms

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Chong Eng stressed that there should not be any delay in administering Covid-19 vaccine. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
Chong Eng stressed that there should not be any delay in administering Covid-19 vaccine. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

GEORGE TOWN, May 18 — Penang state exco Chong Eng has called for the procurement of the Covid-19 vaccine to be decentralised to speed up the rate of vaccination in the country.

The DAP Women’s wing chairman said the Health Ministry should allow respective state governments and the private sector to procure the Covid-19 vaccines that have been registered with the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA).

She said it will also expedite the vaccination rate to achieve herd immunity as soon as possible.

“To achieve herd immunity the fastest, over-controlling and micro-managing the procurements are unnecessary and inefficient,” she said in a statement today.

She pointed out that healthcare facilities have been procuring vaccines and inoculating babies for many years.

“We should mobilise all — federal and state governments, public and private healthcare facilities in the Covid-19 Vaccination Programme,” she said.

As for the price charged by private healthcare facilities, she said the government can always implement a price control on these vaccines once herd immunity is achieved.

She stressed that there should not be any delay in administering Covid-19 vaccines as relying fully on the public health sector to provide vaccinations was too inefficient.

“The infographic from ‘Our World in Data’ clearly reminds us that we’re doing very badly in managing this raging 3rd Wave by way of cases per one million population, notwithstanding that our lCU beds and ventilators are in critical stage,” she said.

She said Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin had said that Malaysia has to inject 75,000 people per day for phases two and three to achieve herd immunity by the end of December 2021.

“Otherwise, we are looking at the first quarter of 2022 or even a longer period,” she said.

She said if the procurement of vaccines is difficult, as Khairy had claimed, the NRPA should facilitate and expedite Emergency Use Authorisation as what other countries had done for vaccines endorsed by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

She said the federal government should be facilitating instead of stifling the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme.

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