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Be transparent over Covax vaccine plan, govt urged

23 Sep 2020 / 11:15 H.

PETALING JAYA: While the Malaysian Health Coalition (MHC) applauded the decision to join the international Covid-19 vaccine plan (Covax), it urged the government to be more transparent in revealing its next steps after procuring the vaccines for Malaysians.

In a statement yesterday, MHC said the government must reveal the criteria for selecting which category of citizens would be the first recipients of the vaccines as the Covax facility would supply enough doses for only 20% of Malaysia’s population in the first phase.

It said the criteria must be transparent, inclusive and non-paternalistic to achieve fairness and equality, and protect all residents of Malaysia.

It also said the government should start discussing the vaccination plan for non-citizen residents as well.

“No one can be left out when the Covid-19 vaccine is being administered, as a pandemic somewhere is a pandemic everywhere.”

MHC also suggested that the government prepares the mass vaccination programme early to gain public confidence.

“The regulatory agencies of Malaysia must prepare for a robust, yet accelerated review of the vaccine when it is ready and the public communications for vaccine confidence must be effective in an era of misinformation, disinformation and anti-vaxxers,” it said.

“Also, the Covid-19 mass vaccination programme must not impact other vaccinations programmes (like polio or HPV), and must be funded in sustainable ways.”

MHC said the country should actively participate in global discussions and not just rely on the domestic public health system.

“Now that we have announced our plans to acquire the Covid-19 vaccine, we need plans to deploy them in safe and equitable ways that inspire population confidence.

“Malaysia must increase transparency, prepare our vaccine infrastructure and strengthen our voice globally,” it said.

On Sept 19, the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation announced that Malaysia will join 172 countries in the Covax initiative.

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