PETALING JAYA: It is heartening to hear from Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin that Covid-19 third dose and booster shots are soon to roll out to eligible recipients, the Malaysian Medical Association said today.
However, there has been no planning and no coordination on the ground; at least not that MMA knows of, its president Dr. Koh Kar Chai said today.
Third dose recipients who are immunocompromised will get their shots at selected health facilities under the supervision of medical doctors. Booster shots for frontliners and senior citizens will be given by private clinics whilst government health facilities will take care of their own staff.
“Apparently arrangements for these shots will be cascaded down to the state health departments to manage,” Koh said in a statement.
“They are to decide on which private GP clinics are picked to participate in this vaccination exercise but up to now, they have not engaged with the private GPs who are still in the dark about the programme.
“We hope that all the GP clinics which had functioned as PPV GPs will be allowed to participate and not only a select few where the selection criteria was not made known to the GPs.”
Koh pointed out that GPs have been working closely with Protecthealth Corporation Sdn Bhd on the onboarding of GPs in the National Immunisation Programme (NIP) and right now, there are about 1,635 private GP clinics that have functioned as a PPVGP.
“But there has been silence from the state health departments on the programme for the third dose and booster shots,” he said.
“MMA wonders if it will be the same old story again where the state health departments 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.
“MMA understands that 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.”
Koh said the health minister has on a number of occasions stated that the private GPs will be involved throughout the National Immunisation Programme (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 departments 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,” he added.