JOHOR BARU, May 25 — A Johor DAP assemblyman today called on the federal government to urgently mobilise a massive nationwide Covid-19 vaccination campaign for elderly Malaysians, as it is claimed that many have yet to receive their first dose of the vaccine.
Skudai assemblyman Tan Hong Pin urged the federal government to immediately look into starting the campaign in an effort to target those aged 60 and above as many elderly Malaysians have yet to receive the vaccine more than a month after the second phase under the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme started on April 19.
“Let's aim for all registered senior citizens to get the first vaccine injection before June 30 and following that their second dose is targeted before August 31, that is before Merdeka Day.
“For a start, the Skudai assemblyman’s office will initiate assisting all local senior citizens who have registered to make a follow-up check with the Health Ministry to ensure their appointment dates can be set as soon as possible,” said Tan in a virtual press conference held via Zoom today.
His press conference was held in an effort to urge the government to hasten the vaccination campaign for the elderly as he claimed that millions of Malaysians aged above 60 have yet to receive their first vaccination shot.
Tan, who has been actively promoting the benefits of vaccination among his constituents, said that he will also request that the Special Committee on Covid-19 Vaccine Supply Access Guarantee (JKJAV) to announce their vaccination achievements, especially for the elderly for each district and sub-district (mukim).
“Let us monitor each other and help each other where we are left behind,” he said.
Earlier, Tan explained that the situation involving elderly citizens is more serious in rural areas that tend to suffer from two distinct disadvantages.
“Firstly, there are less senior citizens registered through the MySejahtera app or through other registration channels as the gross estimate of registrations for the elderly was below 50 per cent. Secondly, the elderly who have been registered are still considered under-vaccinated.
“So, if those who are already registered have not been vaccinated, those who have not registered are less likely to be vaccinated,” he claimed.
Tan pointed out that there exists a vaccination gap between urban and rural areas as well as between the Klang Valley and those outside of the Klang Valley.
He questioned the existence of the gap, adding that it is very significant.
“Based on our initial survey on the field, many more grandparents in their 70s and 80s in small towns or in rural areas are still waiting for the first dose of vaccine even though they have been registered for a while.
“This is not a group that occupies far rural areas who may need other methods (to reach out to). Of concern are those who occupy rural areas that already have basic facilities including health clinics and also rural clinics.
“What is the reason that they are left far behind?” questioned the 40-year-old former state executive councillor under the previous Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration.
Tan understood that there may be reasons where such rural areas are at lower risk than urban areas for Covid-19 infections in the past, but almost all areas in Johor have now fallen into the red zone.
Furthermore, he said the safer green and yellow zones can transform into red zones overnight when infected with clusters from the outside.
Tan appealed to young people who want their parents and grandparents to be vaccinated quickly to support the campaign by contacting the following link: https://forms.gle/me3YS2A9AdTQCoF97
For senior citizens who have not yet registered, he requested that they are registered immediately on the website www.vaksincovid.gov.my.
“Do persuade and convince them because in this Covid-19 pandemic there is no valuable gift for a loved one than a vaccine that can protect lives,” said Tan.
Yesterday, the second round of registrations for the voluntary AstraZeneca vaccinations opened yesterday until Wednesday (May 26) for residents in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Johor, Penang and Sarawak, with priority given to those aged 60 and above, while registrations for those under 60 will be at a later date.
It was reported that a total of 1.2 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine injections were offered to senior citizens for the second round of the vaccination initiative which is open for appointment through slot bookings.
It is one of the measures to ensure that senior citizens who belong to high-risk groups continue to be protected.