THE Government should recognise retail workers as the next group of critical frontliners and vaccinate them under the first phase of the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme.
“Not only would it give confidence to our retail staff, it will be a great assurance to our consumers and the public at large that their wellbeing is safeguarded and protected,” said the Malaysia Retailers Association (MRA) president Tan Sri William Cheng, in a statement.
Last month, nearly 400,000 doses of the first batch of Pfizer vaccines arrived in Malaysia, kickstarting the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme.
When the programme was launched, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced that the first phase of inoculation would involve medical officers and non-medical frontliners.
Later on, lawmakers were added into the list, in a move to boost public confidence on the efficacy of the vaccines.
“The second phase involves high-risk groups such as senior citizens, those above 60 years of age, those who suffer from pre-existing medical conditions and the disabled community.
“As for the third phase, it will involve all those above the age of 18, an important step to create herd immunity and contain the pandemic holistically,” he was reported saying.
Touching on the need to inoculate retail workers, Cheng said that private consumption is an important driver of the nation’s economic growth.
He also said that in 2018, it contributed 57.3% to the gross domestic product (GDP) of this country, with the retail industry alone accounting for 60.4% of the said private consumption and contributed 34.6% to the GDP.
“The retail industry employed 1.2 million workers in 2019. Thus, the retail industry should be acknowledged as a ‘critical pillar’ of the Malaysia’s economy.
Based on the economic contribution, Cheng stated that retail workers should be categorised as the next group of frontliners to get vaccinated, after healthcare workers and non-health frontliners.
“We need to safeguard our retail workers so that all of us can move towards rejuvenating the economy and our retail industry,” he remarked. – Mar 1, 2021