‘Fake news’: BookDoc says never issued letter offering AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine at RM100 a jab

A health worker administers a dose of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine at the IDCC Ideal Convention Centre Shah Alam May 31, 2021. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
A health worker administers a dose of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine at the IDCC Ideal Convention Centre Shah Alam May 31, 2021. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

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KUALA LUMPUR, June 1 — A letter circulating online and purporting to advertise BookDoc’s offer of onsite Covid-19 vaccination at companies at RM100 per dose is “fake news”, BookDoc said today.

When contacted by Malay Mail, a spokesman for BookDoc said that the company had never issued such a letter.

“We didn’t issue that letter, we are still investigating that letter.

“Yes, it is like fake news. The management did not issue this letter,” the spokesman, who declined to provide her name, told Malay Mail in a phone call this morning.

When asked if BookDoc was involved in the Covid-19 vaccination programme, the spokesman said the company was not involved for now and said that she had not received any information from the management for now on such involvement.

The spokesman said that BookDoc was only involved currently as an online platform for those who wish to book for either onsite or walk-in Covid-19 tests.

The letter that BookDoc had said was “fake news” had carried BookDoc’s logo and was supposedly signed off by its founder Datuk Chevy Beh.

This purported letter had claimed that BookDoc was appointed as a service provider to assist in the administration of AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines under the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme at the “Putra World Trade Centre”.

It also outlined purported plans for BookDoc to provide services for onsite Covid-19 vaccination for companies from mid-June of the AstraZeneca vaccine at RM100 per dose or a total of RM200 per person for two doses.

The letter stated companies would be charged a minimum headcount rate of 500 persons (even for companies with less than 500 employees).

On BookDoc’s website, the company is listed as having achieved a milestone in April 2020 of being appointed by the Health Ministry and Ministry of Science and Technology as “vaccine coordinator”.

Malay Mail’s checks of online job listings showed that BookDoc had in early May 2021 offered both part-time and contract positions for doctors or general practitioners, with job responsibilities stated as including “leading a medical team for on-site Covid-19 Vaccination procedures”.

On its website, ProtectHealth Corporation Sdn Bhd states that the not-for-profit company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Health Ministry’s ProtectHealth Malaysia. It further states that it was appointed by the ministry to implement the participation of private medical practitioners in the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme.

Based on information on ProtectHealth’s website, private general practitioners do not need to pay to participate in the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme, but would have to receive training and also provide their own personal protective equipment.

The website also states that ProtectHealth would pay general practitioners RM14 for their administration of each dose of Covid-19 vaccines through clinic and community outreach models, while payment of RM45 per hour would be paid to them for Covid-19 vaccination under government-organised mass vaccination models.

On April 29, the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) was reported by financial publication The Edge as saying that the government had spoken of two models for Covid-19 vaccination for businesses.

One of the two models was reported to be the public private partnership (PPP) model for local and foreign employees of manufacturing and related services sectors, where the government would only cover the Covid-19 vaccine cost while companies have to cover the cost to administer the vaccine — including management of company panel/public doctors approved by ProtectHealth and the vaccine management centre.

The PPP model was reported to be based on a minimum of 1,500 employees.

The other model was reported to be the private immunisation model for employees with employment passes and business travellers, with this model to also see the government bearing the vaccine cost only while the cost to administer the vaccine — by ProtectHealth-approved company panel, ProtectHealth panel doctor or Health Ministry-identified hospital or clinic —  would also have to be paid by the company.

At the time of the April 29 news report, the FMM said it was understood that the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, Health Ministry, Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation were finalising the mechanisms to expedite both these models, including identifying the logistics solutions and the costs to be paid by participating companies.

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