LETTER | Homeless M'sians should be entitled to early Covid-19 vaccination

Juliyus Allen


LETTER | There is a strong need for the government of the day to include homeless Malaysians living on the streets as a priority in this early stage of implementing the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme.

This comes as a concerning and arising issue as there is no secret that the homeless is one of the most vulnerable population roaming the streets with almost nothing on their back and nowhere to turn to. 

Factors are in play as we all know that they are at a huge risk for an adverse health-related issue. 

To understand the severity of the issue we should accurately understand the nature of homelessness and the relationship between resource availability, relative risks, and health status is critical for health care providers to diagnose and treat any health-related problems concerning these vulnerable population.

We believe a holistic approach and intervention by the government will be a prodigious boost in the effort to combat the spread and rate of infection by this virus as the government recently announced in the past weeks that most hospitals and intensive care units (ICUs) treating Covid-19 cases have reached its full capacity. 

Hence, this calls for a bold action and move to ensure the underprivileged, marginalised and deprived are given early vaccination to avoid them being a threat to the healthcare system and possibly a cluster that causes a spike in the Covid-19 cases.

I believe that the government is deploying the necessary strategy and putting into action a proactive framework in managing our nation’s fight against Covid-19.

Kelab Gemilang, as a pressure group and a non-governmental organisation, fully supports the advocacy and determination by the government to tackle and assist those affected by the pandemic.

The National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme was laid out to the public and we acknowledge the systematic allocation of the first batch of vaccines are being allocated for frontliners, who are the most at risk.

There is no doubt that they are the war heroes of the pandemic and we believe this phase in the immunisation programme is very important to protect our frontliners.

However, I hope that this constructive statement and recommendation to include the homeless will be taken positively by the government as I believe they are at greater risk if there is a lack of medical care. Attention should be given to the homeless. 

Together we can flatten the curve and play our roles in emerging as victors in the fight against Covid-19. 

We are stronger together in this war aligned with our most frequently used terms throughout the pandemic this year, “Prihatin” and “Kita Jaga Kita”.

JULIYUS ALLEN is the secretary and foreign affairs director of Kelab Gemilang, an NGO led by youth from various backgrounds to fight for common objectives.

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