MP: Reverse closing 29 Covid-19 vaccination centres in Selangor, inhumane to cite cost as lives not measured by money

Selayang MP William Leong urged the CITF to reconsider its decision to close the 29 PPVs in Selangor and also other Covid-19 vaccination centres. ― Picture by Hari Anggara
Selayang MP William Leong urged the CITF to reconsider its decision to close the 29 PPVs in Selangor and also other Covid-19 vaccination centres. ― Picture by Hari Anggara

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KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 22 — The 29 Covid-19 vaccination centres (PPV) in Selangor that are expected to shut down should remain open as all residents in the state have yet to receive both doses, Selayang MP William Leong Jee Keen said today.

Leong urged the Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force — which comes under the Special Committee for Ensuring Access to Covid-19 Vaccine Supply (JKJAV) and was being coordinated by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation — to reconsider its decision to close the 29 PPVs in Selangor and also other Covid-19 vaccination centres in general practitioner clinics, specialist clinics, private hospitals and ambulatory care centres.

“The vaccination centres should not be closed until 100 per cent of the people in Selangor have been fully vaccinated that means they have received two doses. 

“This 100 per cent figure must be based on the actual population including those who have yet to register for the vaccination and also foreigners, both legal and illegal.

“Saving costs is not an acceptable reason for the closure. Saving lives cannot be measured by a cost benefit analysis. It is inhumane to close the 29 vaccination centres and those by GP clinics and private hospitals on the basis of saving costs when more than half of the population have not completed both doses,” he said in a statement today.

Citing JKJAV statistics as of August 20, Leong said 4,983,564 adults in Selangor have registered for Covid-19 vaccination, and that only 3,849,703 or 58.9 per cent of the adult population in the state have received the first dose while the remaining have yet to receive their first dose.

Leong said it would be inconvenient for those wishing to receive their first or second dose of Covid-19 vaccine to go to the remaining vaccination centres that have not been closed but are located far away, noting that they would also be burdened with high transport costs to travel to such centres.

“Lives cannot be measured by money. I call on JKJAV and the Ministry to intervene in

this matter and reverse the closure decision,” he said, referring to the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation.

On Friday, news portal Malaysiakini reported CITF’s decision in an August 19 letter to the Selangor state government for a total of 29 PPVs in Selangor to be closed, with the closures to be made throughout August until September. 

Out of the 29 PPVs, a few had closed before the CITF letter to Selangor, one yesterday and one today, while 17 will be closed tomorrow and the rest to follow suit throughout August, with a remaining four to close throughout September.

CITF was reported to have told the Selangor state government that the agreement to close down the 29 PPVs was to optimise the use of resources in line with the vaccination rate in the state exceeding 90 per cent and expected to be completed in the near future.

Malaysiakini had reported the CITF as saying in a response to the news portal that the PPVs to be closed are mostly with small capacity and had served their purposes.

The 29 PPVs listed by Malaysiakini have a daily capacity of between 600 to 15,000 doses.

Previously on August 19, Malaysiakini reported CITF as saying in a response to the news portal that the decision to close PPVs will be based on data that looks at the need for PPVs in the Klang Valley, and that it was ensuring no one living in the country is left behind in the Covid-19 vaccinations.

“To this end, CITF is looking at the importance of optimising existing resources as well as cost reductions while balancing the need to ensure there is no difficulty for those who have yet to get vaccinated to do so,” CITF was quoted saying by Malaysiakini

Separately, Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) President Datuk Dr Subramaniam Muniandy yesterday said the association was puzzled as to why the CITF had abruptly decided to halt vaccination appointments at 741 private GP clinics, several private hospitals and ambulatory care centres in the Klang Valley.

Out of the 741 private clinics which were providing Covid-19 vaccination services under the National Immunisation Programme, 250 are in Kuala Lumpur and 491 are in Selangor.

He said CITF should rope in the 8,000 GPs nationwide to aid in the National Immunisation Programme, as many find it more convenient to go to such private clinics as it is close to the community and not crowded.

Dr Subramaniam said participating GPs were informed recently by the CITF through a circular issued by ProtectHealth Corporation Sdn Bhd — an incorporated entity formed under the Health Ministry — that private GPs giving private vaccinations will not be allowed to give vaccinations under the NIP.

Dr Subramaniam had said no reason was given, but suggested that it could be easily resolved if it is due to the coding system for vaccines as both the vaccines under the National Immunisation Programme and private vaccines will have a separate code.   

Last night, Klang MP Charles Santiago questioned the CITF decision to stop vaccination appointments at the 741 facilities in the Klang Valley.

Health director general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah had responded in a tweet last night to Santiago’s question, saying that this was contrary to his own proposal to increase the participation of GPs under ProtectHealth Corporation for the Covid-19 vaccination.

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