KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 28 — The Health Ministry said today it was considering mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations for individuals employed in the health, security, education and services sectors.
Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said this in a parliamentary reply today to Jempol MP Datuk Mohd Salim Sharif, who asked the ministry for the latest update on the mandatory measures that will be taken against anti-vaccine groups who may jeopardise the overall success of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK).
Khairy said measures mandating Covid-19 vaccines for the entire population of Malaysia is the final proposed initiative currently being considered by the Health Ministry.
Apart from the proposed use of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342) to mandate vaccines for the whole Malaysian population, Khairy said the ministry was currently looking into several alternatives to increase the vaccination rate further.
“An ‘opt-out’ option for individuals who refuse to get vaccinated against Covid-19 and who agree not to receive the privileges offered to fully vaccinated people.
“Mandating full vaccination as a condition to gain entry to public facilities (eateries, shopping centres, government offices, universities and libraries) and participating in social activities (sports and others).
“The proposal to mandate vaccines in specific sectors such as health, security, education and service through provisions stipulated within the Occupational Safety and Health Act,” he said.
However, Khairy noted that these suggestions must be tabled and deliberated by the Cabinet first before they are implemented.
Presently, he also said legal action against individuals found to be inciting others to reject vaccines can be enforced through existing laws such as the Penal Code and Sedition Act.
The Covid-19 vaccination remains voluntary in Malaysia, but authorities have increasingly made full vaccination a requirement to regain many of the freedoms previously curtailed as part of efforts to control the pandemic locally.