MMA slams state health departments for lack of coordination on rollout of booster shots, third Covid-19 jab

Syringes used for Covid-19 vaccinations are pictured at the UiTM Hospital in Sungai Buloh March 2, 2021. ― Picture by Hari Anggara.
Syringes used for Covid-19 vaccinations are pictured at the UiTM Hospital in Sungai Buloh March 2, 2021. ― Picture by Hari Anggara.

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KUCHING, Oct 15 — There is no planning and no coordination on the ground on the booster shots and third dose rollout by state Health Departments, says Malaysian Medical Association (MMA).

Its president Dr Koh Kar Chai said it is heartening to hear from the health minister that Covid-19 third dose and booster shots are soon to roll out for eligible recipients.

Third dose recipients who are immunocompromised will get their shots at selected health facilities under the supervision of medical doctors, while the booster shots for frontliners and senior citizens will be given by private clinics whilst government health facilities will take care of their own staff, he said.

“We hope that all general practitioners (GP) clinics which have functioned as PPV GPs will be allowed to participate, and not only a select few where the selection criteria is not made known to the GPs.

“Apparently arrangements for these shots will be cascaded down to the state Health Department to manage. They are to decide which private GP clinics are picked to participate in this vaccination exercise, but up till now, they have not engaged with the private GPs who are still in the dark about the programme,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Dr Koh added that the GPs had been working closely with Protecthealth Corporation Sdn Bhd on the onboarding of GPs in the National Immunisation Programme (NIP).

“There are 1,635 private GP clinics that have functioned as PPVGP but there has been silence from the state Health Department on the programme for the third dose and booster shots.

 “We (MMA) wonder if it will be the same old story again where the state Health Department will notify GPs only at the last minute. As it is, many GPs are already inundated with calls from the public inquiring about the availability of the booster shots,” he said.

He added that MMA understands there will be around 8.75 million people who will receive the third or booster dose, hence the rollout needs to be properly planned and coordinated.

“There is the need for efficiency and speed in this planned third dose and booster vaccination programme.

“The health minister has on a number of occasions stated that the private GPs will be involved throughout the NIP and going forward in the administering of booster shots and third doses. The Health DG has been supportive of roping in private GPs but there has been poor implementation on the ground by the state Health Department since the start of the NIP.

“This needs to change, and quickly if we are to ensure a successful rollout of the third dose and booster shots,” said Dr Koh. — Borneo Post

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