PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) hopes to rope in up to 5,000 general practitioners (GP) for the Covid-19 vaccination drive.
MMA president Datuk Dr M. Subramaniam said the move will raise the number of doses administered each day by 150,000.
Vaccinations, until now, have been carried out only at government facilities. More than 3.7 million doses have already been administered since the vaccination drive began on Feb 24.
A total of 151,309 doses were administered on Tuesday, the highest in a single day, said the Covid-19 Vaccine Supply Access Guarantee Special Committee on Twitter.
Subramaniam said 500 GPs will start administering the vaccine from their clinics from June 15.
The government had announced on May 30 that the number of clinics designated to administer the vaccine will increase to 1,000 by June 30.
So far, 2,500 GPs have registered in the vaccination drive through ProtectHealth, a company set up by the Health Ministry to coordinate the private healthcare vaccination programme.
Subramaniam said efforts are being made to get another 2,500 GPs to participate in the drive in the next two months. There are about 8,000 GPs in Malaysia.
Many people have voiced their preference to be vaccinated at a private clinic, he told theSun
“It is more convenient for them as private clinics are widely distributed in the country and are easily accessible by the public,” he said.
“The National Immunisation Programme must move into fifth gear now.
“The number of places where people can be vaccinated should be increased to prevent crowds at mega vaccination centres.”
He said the government should also use all available data on HIDE (Hotspots Identification for Dynamic Engagement) and MySejahtera to identify areas where there is a need for wider screening for Covid-19.
The situation has already reached a critical stage and there is a need to optimise all available resources, he said, adding that all unnecessary red tape should be removed.
Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia president Datuk Dr Kuljit Singh said a total of 129 private hospitals were given the go-ahead to start their vaccination exercise.
This week, 12 private hospitals began their vaccination exercise and are already administering 100 to 120 doses a day.
Kuljit said each hospital has the capacity to raise the number of shots to 800 a day.
“Of course, this will depend on how many doses the government can send to us,” he said.
Even before private hospitals began administering the vaccine, they were already sending their staff to help at the mega vaccination centres.
Kuljit advised the public not to be choosy on which vaccine to use.
“If you insist on only one type of vaccine, you may have to wait for weeks,” he said.
“This would raise a person’s risk of being infected with Covid-19”.
Three different vaccines are being used in the country.
They are Pfizer’s BioNTech, AstraZeneca developed by the University of Oxford, and the CoronaVac by Sinovac Biotech of China.