After ‘queue-jumping’ claims, Putrajaya spells out Covid-19 vaccine access priority

Kenneth Tee
·2-min read
The first batch of Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine is moved into DHL transport van after arriving at Malaysia Airline Berhad (MAS) Penang Cargo Complex, Bayan Lepas on February 21, 2021. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
The first batch of Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine is moved into DHL transport van after arriving at Malaysia Airline Berhad (MAS) Penang Cargo Complex, Bayan Lepas on February 21, 2021. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

KUALA LUMPUR, March 1 — Only Cabinet members, state executive councillors, federal and state lawmakers and government officials accompanying ministers abroad qualify as political “frontliners” for phase one of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme, according to a guideline released today.

The definitive guideline issued by the Special Committee for Ensuring Access to Covid-19 Vaccine Supply (JKJAV) was shared by Minister of Science, Innovation and Technology (Mosti) Khairy Jamaluddin earlier today following reports that some politicians and their aides were given access to the vaccines last week ahead of their turns.

Complaints of politicians and their aides of cutting the line for the Covid-19 vaccine made the rounds on social media following its rollout last week.

The aforementioned groups of individuals were listed under the Second Category of frontliners on the bottom most on the list of 12 groups eligible for vaccinations, far behind those listed under the First Category.

Under the guideline, frontliners are defined as individuals with high risks of contracting and infected by Covid-19 as they were exposed to infected patients, high-risks infected patients, patient samples or environment which had the potential to cause an infection.

The frontliner group is also divided into two categories, the First Category and Second Category respectively.

Ranking first and second in the list of 12 were those from the health sector (general practitioners, private dentists, private laboratories and traditional medicine practitioners) and enforcement agencies (Royal Malaysia Police, Malaysian Armed Forces, Immigration Department, Fire and Rescue Department, Prisons Department, Civil Defence Force and the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency.

Primary and secondary school teachers with comorbidities and Health Ministry contractors (sanitisation and security) were also included in the Second Category frontliners list.

Separately, the First Category comprised technical personnel directly involved with treatment care (including institutions under the Health Ministry, Defence Ministry, private hospitals and teaching hospitals); while those in the Second Category comprised personnel involved in the health sector, enforcement agencies, security personnel and essential services.

Examples of technical personnel (management and professionals, paramedics and auxiliaries) listed under the guideline were medical officers, dentistry officers, pharmacists, science officers, environmental health officers, nurses and various assistant health officers.

However, the definitive list is subjected to future amendments on decisions and conditions stipulated by the JKJAV.

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