KUALA LUMPUR, June 8 — Former minister Yeo Bee Yin called out Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin today, asking why his Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF) team was not able extract the list of senior citizens and priority groups for vaccination appointments first.

Yeo, who was Khairy’s predecessor, pointed out that the RM70 million National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (NIP) data integration and appointment system does not even have basic data management capabilities.

She urged Khairy to disclose the qualifications and capability of the data team behind the system as their capability in handling data for NIP is in serious doubt.

“Actually from the database of vaccine registration and tracking system of the progress of vaccination, the data system is supposed to be able to extract out those who are above 60 years old but still not vaccinated and their respective locations just from the age and location fields filled by them during the online registration process.

“This can even be done with simple filter, sorting and logic functions in Microsoft Excel, why is the RM70 million data system not able to do it?” she said in a statement.

Yeo added that CITF must assess if there is any possibility to improve the capability of the data integration and appointment system in a short frame of time, else they should start looking for a decentralised and simpler system that runs in parallel to the current centralised system to ensure that data management does not become an obstacle for a smooth vaccination rollout.

“In addition, during the vaccine registration process, people are asked to answer several questions including whether they are persons with disabilities or have any comorbidities (if yes, tick what they are).

“These are all targeted groups for Phase 2 in NIP and they are supposed to be given appointments through simple algorithms in the data integration and appointment system. Why was it not done? Many of these priority groups need to be arranged manually,” she said.

Yeo then cited an example where the vaccination centre in Muar, where they issued a notice to people in the district to get those who are older to register with them to identify people who fall through the cracks and to prepare a backup list for the vaccination centre to call.

“We have received more than 500 calls since then. There were even those in their 80s with comorbidities that have not obtained appointments.

“While we can solve these problems individually by arranging them through vaccination centre back-up lists at the local level, this scenario has pointed out that there are serious flaws in the RM70 million data and appointment system algorithm,” she said.