Give free Covid-19 vaccine to all, Suhakam urges govt

27 Jan 2021 / 12:00 H.

PETALING JAYA: The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) is urging the government to provide free Covid-19 vaccines for all without discrimination.

This includes the vulnerable communities, refugees, migrants, stateless persons, detainees in detention centres and prison inmates.

Suhakam noted that the government had established the Special Committee on Ensuring Access to Covid-19 Vaccine Supply (JKJAV) last year to look into the matters relating to the procurement and distribution of the vaccine.

“We are aware that according to the updates provided by the government in December last year, the current supply of the vaccine will allow a total of 82.8% of Malaysians to receive it,” Suhakam said in a statement today.

Suhakam added that the right to health is a basic human right that should be enjoyed by everyone.

“The access to healthcare, including vaccines, is an essential aspect of the right to health. The vulnerable communities, refugees, migrant and undocumented workers and stateless persons face the risk of falling through the cracks in the current health system for many reasons including their status and nationality, and inability to afford the healthcare costs,” the statement read.

There are approximately 2.5 million documented migrant workers in the country, but an estimated two million undocumented migrant workers due to the absence of clear data.

Suhakam noted there have been reported cases of Covid-19 infections in detention centres and prisons, therefore the government should take this into consideration when the vaccine is distributed.

“Suhakam would like to stress that Covid-19 does not discriminate, it affects everyone including these vulnerable communities.

Suhakam takes note of the news reports in the first week of this month that JKJAV planned to suggest free vaccination for migrant workers in the country,

“In this regard, Suhakam hopes that JKJAV will look into this matter and ensure free Covid-19 vaccination for all,” they said.

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