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KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 29 ― The Opposition Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition has set up its own immunisation task force to encourage Malaysians to go for the Covid-19 vaccination program when it finally rolls out.
The task force will be led by former health minister Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad, who has advocated the involvement of all physicians and non-governmental organisations in a “whole of society” approach towards creating herd immunity against Covid-19, and fight the ideology being propagated by a growing anti-vaccination movement.
“Pakatan Harapan recognises the difficulties of conducting a comprehensive Immunisation program in a short time. The success or failure of the immunisation program will determine the health of the people, the capacity of the health capacity and the economic recovery of the country.
“For the sake of the people and the future of the country, Pakatan Harapan wants to cross the political divide to work with the government. We hope this move will convince the people to receive immunisation,” Dzulkefly who is Kuala Selangor MP said in a statement today.
The Parti Amanah Negara politician said all PH lawmakers will be roped in to help communicate the benefits of taking the Covid-19 vaccine and coordinate the immunisation program in their respective parliamentary and state constituencies.
The Covid-19 vaccination program is reportedly planned to begin at end February.
Dzulkefly also called on the Perikatan Nasional government to involve PH representatives in the Covid-19 vaccine supply access special committee (JKJAV) in the same spirit of bipartisanship.
“The involvement of PH representatives in JKJAV will send a message to the people that the National Immunisation Plan goes beyond politics and has the support of the whole country,” he said.
PH currently controls Selangor and Penang.
Other members of the PH immunisation task force include Dzulkefly’s former deputy Dr Lee Boon Chye from PKR; Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii (DAP), Lumut MP Datuk Dr Mohd Hatta Ramli (Amanah), Bayan Baru MP Sim Tze Tzin (PKR), Bangi MP Ong Kian Ming (DAP), Selangor Health executive councillor Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud (Amanah), Penang Health exco Norlela Ariffin (PKR) as well as their counterpart from Negri Sembilan S. Veerapan (DAP).
On January 27, the Health Ministry announced the commencement of the final phase of clinical trials for a Covid-19 vaccine locally, with the goal of assessing the vaccine’s safety and efficacy against the coronavirus with 3,000 volunteers.
Malaysia has made a deal with several companies and is expected to roll out the vaccine for selected frontliners by the end of next month.
Earlier this month, Selangor also expressed its desire to acquire five million doses of vaccine for the people of the state.