KUALA LUMPUR, July 19 — The reliance on mega vaccination centres (PPV) should be reduced since they are potential sources of new Covid-19 infections, said National DAP Socialist Youth deputy chief Muhammad Shakir Ameer.
He said that although mega PPVs can accelerate the nationwide vaccination programme on a large scale, there remains the risk of one individual contracting Covid-19 and triggering a large cluster as a result.
“Last week the mega PPV at the Ideal Convention Centre in Shah Alam became a cluster dubbed the Jalan Pahat 15 cluster, where a large number of the volunteers and workers were infected with Covid-19,” Shakir said in a statement.
He also cited other instances of outbreaks at mega PPVs, such as the one at the Setia City Convention Centre (SCCC) where its volunteers were allegedly not informed by the management concerning infection cases and instead found out via WhatsApp groups.
“This is very serious, and should be answered by National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK) coordinating minister Khairy Jamaluddin as soon as possible.
“There have also been cases involving individuals who reside in districts or states far from PPVs. As an example, those residing in Sepang were instructed to get vaccinated in Sabak Bernam, while those in Kuang were told to go to SCCC for their vaccination,” he said.
In such circumstances, Shakir said the possibility of infecting people from other states is high, with even worse implications.
“If PICK becomes too dependent on the mega PPVs, it will also burden those who reside far away from such PPVs. As an example, someone residing in Bukit Subang of Seksyen U16 in Shah Alam must pay RM55 to go for their vaccination at the SCCC PPV, which is not reasonable for the B40 groups.
“Although the Selangor state government is constantly endeavouring to alleviate the rakyat’s burden by offering RM20 rebates via the Pakej Kita Selangor, for many in the B40 category, the RM25 e-hailing fare is a high burden,” he said.
The Shah Alam City Council (MBSA) councillor proposed that PICK consider using public halls (dewan orang ramai) to conduct vaccinations, according to the locality so as to reduce the burden of residents, particularly from the B40 category.
“This will also reduce the risk of large-scale infection as seen at IDCC, while also easing the management of those coming to the PPVs for their vaccinations.
“For example in Shah Alam city, small or medium-sized PPVs can be opened in public halls for a limited period of time, to enable vaccinations according to the locality, section, or zone, per the advice of MBSA,” Shakir said.
With daily infections nationwide now in five digits coupled with the Delta variant spreading, he stressed the importance of ensuring the safety of PPV volunteers and personnel, so that those receiving their vaccinations will also be kept safe.
“Transparency should also be taken into account, especially if rumours concerning infections at any PPVs start to arise. Explanations to the public should be made as soon as possible before the situation becomes more complicated for all.
“It should be the responsibility of everyone to ensure the state and national-level vaccination programme succeeds, regardless of one’s political background,” Shakir said.