The high vaccination rates in the nation has indeed been an indicator that our nation is moving in the right direction to prevent the transmission of Covid-19. Recent data have stipulated that 28.9% of Malaysians have been fully vaccinated as of yesterday. We have yet to reach the herd immunity of 80% as projected by our government which has also stated that it would hopefully, be reached by the end of the year. With the National Recovery Program in place, efforts to vaccinate more individuals have been amplified to a great extent. Apart from locals, the government is also channeling more efforts to vaccinate undocumented individuals and migrants in order to prevent transmission in places frequented by them. At this point, vaccinating everyone should be the goal of the government.
Therefore, National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme Coordinating Minister Khairy Jamaluddin has implemented walk-in vaccination centres (PPVs) throughout the vaccination program beginning 2nd August. According to the timeline of the walk-in PPVs, vaccinations for Malaysians would be from 2nd to 4th August for individuals aged 40 and above or people with comorbidities. Individuals aged 18 and above would be able to get their vaccines in another slot from 5th to 22nd August.
Non-Malaysian citizens, however, would receive their vaccines from 9th to 11th August for those aged 40 and above as well as individuals with comorbidities. Non-citizens aged 18 and above could receive theirs from 12th to 22nd August.
Albeit the fact that this plan is good, realistically it would only lead to more Covid-19 clusters. Recently, a video regarding overcrowding at vaccination centres went viral on social media. The video which ran for about 7 minutes and 15 seconds featured a long line of to-be vaccinated individuals queuing up in a long line without social distancing. They were sandwiched against each other! With no authorities helping those people to maintain social distancing, it is to no doubt, another cluster point in the making.
Following the release of the video, Rumah Prihatin @ The Grand Seasons Hotel, issued a statement detailing that the video was filled with misinformation. Apparently, Rumah Prihatin only executes walk-in vaccinations for citizens of Malaysia and not for non-citizens, whose vaccinations are handled at PPV Bukit Jalil! The statement also mentioned that an unusual “rush crowd” occurred.
At first, they tried dispersing the crowd with the help of the authorities (PDRM and DBKL) but they were too stubborn. Tons of warnings were given and those were not heeded by the individuals there. Rumah Prihatin claimed that they regret the occurrence of the incident and have also promised that it would not occur again.
A week ago, Khairy Jamaluddin had stated that the SOPs at PPVs especially, the mega-scale ones will be tightened and enhanced to reduce the risk of Covid-19 infections. Among the steps to be taken include, scheduling an appointment time and implementing physical distancing, as well as, the time spent at the PPVs would be cut short by speeding up the vaccination process for each recipient, which is done by introducing the digital consent form on the MySejahtera application.
Nevertheless, it might be beneficial if those present at Rumah Prihatin undergo a quick Covid-19 test at home using the self-test kits which could be bought at local pharmacies. This might be a potential cluster in the days to come if quarantine for the individuals are not executed,