To jab or not to jab: All hands must be on deck to encourage vaccination

THERE have been concerns about the low vaccine registration numbers in Malaysia since the launch of the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme in February 2021.

According to a briefing given to Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin by Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin and Health Minister Datuk Seri Adham Baba several days ago, about seven million people have registered for the programme so far.

Against the Government’s target to inoculate 70% to 80% (about 26 million) of the country’s 32 million population by February 2022, the number of people who have registered to get their vaccines is still overwhelmingly low, and much needs to be done to encourage Malaysians to register to get vaccinated.

Beyond using media outlets and social media platforms to disseminate information about the importance of getting inoculated against the novel coronavirus, the Government must allow private hospitals and clinics to buy and administer the COVID-19 vaccines.

In fact, private hospitals, should they be allowed to procure vaccines from different sources, can be mobilised very fast to complement the Government’s efforts in ensuring that the majority of the population is vaccinated in the shortest possible time to assist in achieving ‘herd immunity’.

Employers, too, must be encouraged to play their part by educating and encouraging employees on benefits of registering for the vaccines.

In addition to providing accurate information about the vaccines, employers can also offer incentives – an angpow of sorts, if you may – to employees who have successfully registered to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Meanwhile, efforts by Sunway Malls to encourage people to sign up for vaccinations deserve special mention too. Did you know that you can redeem a free gift if you flash your vaccine registration in your MySejahtera app at selected Sunway shopping malls?

Sunway Pyramid even takes this one step further by working with several of its tenants to offer special discounts to those who show proof that they have registered for COVID-19 vaccinations.

My point is, all relevant parties must work together to encourage the general public to register to get inoculated against COVID-19. The more entities and institutions involved, the wider the reach would be, and this would in turn increase the people’s confidence about the vaccines.

At the end of the day, it’s a win-win situation for everyone. – March 3o, 2021

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