Prepare public for Covid-19 vaccine roll-out, says group

 

PETALING JAYA: A medical group has called on the government to take immediate steps to prepare the country’s Covid-19 vaccine roll-out strategy.

The Malaysian Health Coalition, which comprises more than 50 local health organisations and independent experts, detailed the steps needed to be taken to maximise the effectiveness of the immunisation plan slated to begin in the coming months.

In a statement, it said vaccine confidence needs to be instilled in the public by curbing misinformation and conspiracy theories that spread on social media and in chat groups.

“The government must engage with all levels of society to rapidly increase public education on vaccines and combat misinformation,” it said.

“We also urge non-government stakeholders such as the media, academics, businesses, religious authorities and civil society organisations to do their part in ensuring that only evidence-based information on vaccines is published and shared.”

The coalition said that in addition to medical frontliners, priority for the vaccines should also be given to care home residents and carers, migrant workers and refugees, given their vulnerability and susceptibility to infection.

It said Malaysia must develop infrastructure to allow for long-term vaccine capabilities.

“This includes the end-to-end development from world-class scientific research to manufacturing and international distribution,” which would reduce the country’s reliance on foreign manufacturers.

“Moreover, a domestic vaccine and pharmaceutical infrastructure will have a far-reaching, positive ripple effect on our economy and global standing,” it said.

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