Immunisation - unlicensed elderly care homes a weak spot

Low Choon Chyuan

Modified 27 Apr 2021, 9:03 am

Although the senior citizens will be vaccinated under the second phase of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme which began last Monday, many operators of elderly care centres have complained that they haven’t received any instructions.

Adding to this concern is the existence of a large number of unlicensed old folks homes in the country the operators of which are unwilling to register their residents for fear of being penalised for running an illegal business.

This could potentially undermine the national vaccination programme, say experts.

According to a statement issued by Pakatan Harapan's Committee on Covid-19 Vaccination, some 30,000 to 40,000 Malaysians who are aged above 65 are living across 1,500 care or nursing homes nationwide operated by 8,000 workers.

Delren Terrence Douglas, president of the Association For Residential Aged Care Operators of Malaysia (AgeCOpe) told Malaysiakini that under an arrangement with the Health Ministry and Social Welfare Department (JKM), the ministry will send its medical personnel to old folks homes to vaccinate the residents.

Towards this, a letter was issued by JKM on Jan 29 urging operators of elderly care centres to submit data on their residents, caregivers and staff as well as their willingness to be vaccinated. The deadline given was Feb 22. Douglas said the deadline later was extended to March 15.

Douglas complained that although operators were asked to submit in February, the authority has ... 

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