Plan To Vaccinate Influencers Administrators First Leaves Frontliners Puzzled
Serdang Hospital's plan to administer the Covid-19 vaccine on influencers and administrators first has not helped morale among frontline staff at the hospital.
Medical personnel, speaking to Malaysiakini on condition of anonymity, said Serdang Hospital's management planned to include three influencers in the first batch of Covid-19 vaccine recipients tomorrow.
The identities of the influencers have not been revealed, and it is unclear whether they are medical frontliners, some of whom have large social media followings.
The sources, which include Serdang Hospital staff, said senior hospital administrators who do not have direct contact with patients were also slated to be vaccinated first.
"Apart from vaccinators, the hospital apparently wants to include in its first batch of recipients their senior administration staff and three influencers," one of the sources told Malaysiakini.
According to the sources, the hospital's justification was that the influencers can encourage people to participate in the vaccination programme.
"This idea to include influencers is supposed to make them role models. But this is frustrating, especially to those who are really at the forefront of the battle against this pandemic," the source added.
Another source, who works at the hospital, also corroborated this account.
"Yes, there is such a plan," the insider told Malaysiakini.
Serdang Hospital director Dr Rohana Johan did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Its public relations division directed queries to the Selangor Health Department, which had yet to respond to requests for comment.
Serdang Hospital has been designated as a Vaccine Administration Centre (VAC). It will begin administering its first vaccine tomorrow (Feb 26).
The National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme officially kicked off yesterday, with Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin being the first individual to receive the vaccine.
According to the government's plan, the programme aims to cover at least 80 percent of the country's adult population.
It would be carried out in three phases throughout a one-year period, beginning with 500,000 essential personnel.
The three phases are:
Phase 1 - Will run until April. This will involve medical frontliners, enforcement personnel, welfare officers, elected representatives and teachers with comorbidities.
Phase 2 - From April to August, involving 9.4 million people classified as high-risk groups. These groups include the differently-abled, those above 60 years old and those with comorbidities such as heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.
Phase 3 - This will be from May to February 2022 for all other people living in Malaysia aged 18 and above.
Meanwhile, Science Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin responded to Malaysiakini's story via a brief statement on Twitter, saying that it was not true.
"This is not true. I have spoken to Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.
"He will issue a statement. Please stop spreading news based on anonymity," Khairy tweeted.
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