LETTER | Vaccines for all

Malaysian Health Coalition

Modified 15 Feb 2021, 12:17 pm

LETTER | The Malaysian Health Coalition (MHC) welcomes the government’s decision to provide vaccines for all residents of Malaysia for free, including undocumented persons. This is the correct ethical, public health and economic decision for Malaysia, and necessary to achieve herd immunity and health equity.

Now, the government must build a high level of public trust and a system to ensure that all eligible persons register for the vaccine. Vaccinating undocumented non-citizens is laudable, but it must include long-term durable solutions that encompass the entire policy spectrum, not just a short-term fix only for the Covid-19 vaccine. An amnesty process must be considered as a viable, durable solution.

We also call for an urgent all-of-government effort to combat vaccine misinformation and conspiracy theories. We need a mass public education campaign to help the rakyat understand the basic science behind vaccines, especially to answer their reasonable questions. Improved health literacy and public awareness will ensure enough people register for the vaccine.

At all times during the process, the government must be transparent and inclusive. We urge that the National Covid-19 Immunisation Plan be released immediately for public scrutiny. It is far better to address the rakyat’s concerns and allow opportunities for constructive suggestions for improvement than to release the immunisation plan at the last minute.

Although we are making good progress, the vaccine is not a silver bullet. It will take many months still before herd immunity is achieved. Therefore, all residents of Malaysia must remain vigilant and continue practising preventive measures such as physical distancing, masking, and hand hygiene.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.