Amid claim of privately-sold Covid-19 vaccines, Khairy stresses jabs must be free for Malaysians

Staff and residents of Rumah Amal Cheshire receive the Covid 19 vaccine jab at Rumah Amal Cheshire Selangor, June 24, 2021. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
Staff and residents of Rumah Amal Cheshire receive the Covid 19 vaccine jab at Rumah Amal Cheshire Selangor, June 24, 2021. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

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KUALA LUMPUR, June 24 — The Covid-19 vaccines are free for all Malaysians and private healthcare operators are not allowed to charge for the jabs or impose consultation costs to vaccine recipients who opt to get inoculated with them, Khairy Jamaluddin stressed today.

The science, technology and innovation minister also advised the public to refrain from dealing with anyone who offers to sell the vaccines and instead to report the matter to police.

“I would like to stress once again that vaccination under the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme is provided free of charge to all Malaysians. No fees can be charged to the public who go to the vaccination centres (PPV) under a private medical practitioner for Covid-19 immunisation.

“No consultation fee can also be imposed by a private medical practitioner on the public present on an appointment that has been given to be vaccinated,” he said.

Recently, the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) said it was informed that vaccinations are being sold by a non-healthcare private company to private groups at around RM200 for two doses per person, with a private healthcare facility engaged to carry out the vaccinations.

It however did not elaborate on the claim.

Khairy explained that there are several types of PPVs operated by private medical practitioners under the ProtectHealth Corporation Sdn Bhd, a non-profit company owned by the Ministry of Health (MOH), namely the private general medical practitioner PPVs, private hospital PPVs, specialist clinic PPVs, ambulatory care centre PPVs and the industrial PPV.

He said that the same principle also applies to the Industrial PPVs programme under the Public-Private Partnership Industrial Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (Pikas), which has been mobilised to control transmission of the Covid-19 outbreak through phase four of the NIP.

“The vaccine is supplied free of charge under Pikas. The cost of vaccine administration should be borne by the employer where the cost includes the provision of PPV operated by the private sector and the services of private medical practitioners. Employers are prohibited from transferring the cost of vaccine administration to employees through deductions from the employee’s salary,” he added.

In a statement, MMA president Datuk Dr Subramaniam Muniandy then urged relevant authorities as well as the Malaysian Medical Council (MMC) to conduct a full investigation into the matter.

Last month, Ramsay Sime Darby Healthcare had denied that its hospitals are offering a private Covid-19 inoculation programme for paying corporate clients and individuals keen to obtain quick access.

The corporation which runs Subang Jaya Medical Centre (SJMC), Ara Damansara Medical Centre and ParkCity Medical Centre, told The Edge Markets that none of its hospitals are offering the alleged private registration for Covid-19 vaccination.

A viral message claimed SJMC is partnering with Pharmaniaga to offer fast access to the Covid-19 vaccine for its corporate clients and those who are keen, and that the cost per dose is estimated between RM400 and RM600, with email addresses also listed for people to send their registrations.

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