KUALA LUMPUR, Mar 1 — Complaints of several politicians and their aides jumping queue for the Covid-19 vaccine began making the rounds on social media following its rollout last week.
Malay Mail was told that politicians, especially ministers, could bring up to five of their officers to receive the vaccine with the approval of the officer in charge of the district health, with a bottle of Pfizer vaccine containing six doses, which need to be administered right away upon its unsealing.
However several of the ministers were said to demand more, bringing in extra people without prior announcement that led to the remaining doses being wasted.
A health officer in Putrajaya told Malay Mail that a minister came in and demanded that an “officer” who was not on the namelist given in advance be vaccinated last week.
“A minister brought seven people to be vaccinated, there was an ‘instruction’ to get his people vaccinated and the PKD (officer in charge of the health district) had to give approval,” said the informer who wanted to remain anonymous.
Another health officer at the same health office also highlighted the rude behavior of an aide to a minister who barked orders left and right and even instructed health officers to leave an office while the minister got his jab.
“The minister’s officers even rubbed anesthetic cream themselves to the arm of the minister before allowing the vaccination to take place,” said the health officer.
Meanwhile, another health officer in Kelantan also told Malay Mail that some of the state excos and officers have been handing in too many names without proper reasoning.
“There is a problem of vetting the names as politicians insisted that they need to get vaccinated. The stock of vaccines given to states are limited and have to be shared among the frontliners including those who are administering the vaccines themselves,” said the health officer.
Another health officer in Selangor said the same thing, but had the state’s Covid-19 task force to thank for getting the list sorted.
“Yes, in the state we have also received too many names to receive the vaccine under the state officers and the exco quota.
“We are thankful that the Selangor Covid-19 task force had also stepped in and tried to stop those not from the frontlines to jump the queue,” said the health officer.
There have been numerous complaints on social media that have since also received the attention and acknowledgement from other health officers in the country.
Dr Zainal Adwin, a surgeon active with medical officers advocate group MedTweetM,Y who has been in active role on exposing the stories of queue-jumping VIPs, urged his colleagues in the medical fraternity to report the matter.
“Stories about ‘VIPs’ and their family members getting priority for #COVID19 vaccinations are increasing in volume. Mostly want to remain anonymous because they are afraid of backlash. I urge the involved ‘victims’ to step up and report these irresponsible actions,” he tweeted on Feb 27.
Stories about ‘VIPs’ and their family members getting priority for #COVID19 vaccination are increasing in volume. Mostly want to remain anonymous because they are afraid of backlash. I urge the involved ‘victims’ to step up and report these irresponsible actions.— Dr. Zainal Adwin 🇲🇾 🌺 (@zainaladwin) February 27, 2021
Minister of Science and Technology Khairy Jamaluddin, who is in charge of the vaccines access under the Special Committee for Ensuring Access to Covid-19 Vaccine Supply (JKJAV), has stepped in and promised to investigate such cases.
“My team has been monitoring whistleblowers’ comments on social media about vaccine queue jumping. I shared it immediately with Datuk Dr Chong DDG (Health deputy director-general), who is with me in the task force, to investigate. We take every exposé seriously. Vaccine equity is important,” he tweeted last night.
Terima kasih @rafidah72. Saya pandang sangat serius isu queue jumper ini. Saya telah maklum perkara ini kepada @DGHisham agar tiada pemotongan queue. Whistleblower boleh hantar emel secara anonymous terus kepada saya [email protected] dan saya akan siasat. https://t.co/HChBkQ8owK— Khairy Jamaluddin 🇲🇾🌺 (@Khairykj) February 28, 2021