KUALA LUMPUR, July 19 — The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) echoed today calls for the government to inoculate undocumented migrants whose protection is key to fighting Covid-19 amid the race to contain the spread of more contagious variants in the country.
Undocumented migrants here should be seen as high risk group because of their living conditions. Many are in hiding and tend to live in cramped houses in large numbers, making them susceptible to a rapid outbreak.
“Every effort must be made to ensure they are inoculated in the quickest time possible,” MMA president Datuk Dr Subramaniam Muniandy said in a statement.
“Hundreds of workers can be infected if any one worker is confirmed positive with the Delta variant. If this happens, hospitals may not be able to cope,” he added.
Malaysia has an estimated two to three million undocumented migrants nationwide. Majority are usually employed informally in the construction, manufacturing and plantation sectors.
The Health Ministry and the JKJAV, the vaccination task force, have ramped up the vaccination rate in the last two weeks to prevent a full-fledged blow out of infections, which has climbed sharply since June.
The MMA said the vaccination drive is still far behind in vaccinating undocumented migrants.
“The government must ensure that in line with Universal Health Coverage (UHC), no one is left behind in its National Immunisation Programme (NIP),” Dr Subramaniam said.
“All population groups including Malaysia’s high undocumented migrant population must be included in its vaccination drive.”
Three days ago, federal minister overseeing the vaccination effort Khairy Jamaluddin gave health workers the green light to give migrant workers their shots if they have applied through MySejahtera, the state-built application.
Earlier this year, he had expressed support to include undocumented migrants into the national immunisation drive.