PENANG’s economic frontliners, especially factory workers, would be considered as a priority group under phase two of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme.
Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow’s request to have the economic frontliners vaccinated as a number of Covid-19 cases in the state occurred in the manufacturing sector has been noted by Khairy Jamaluddin, the coordinating minister for the programme, in an engagement session in Komtar today.
Khairy, who is the Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) Minister, responded by saying that they would consider the economic frontliners under phase two of the programme but the supply of vaccines was low at the moment.
Chow, who was among the first group to take the vaccine in Penang on Feb 28, had made the proposal for the factory workers to be prioritised for vaccination in their first engagement session this year via online on March 2.
“Until March 30, a total of 522,136 people in Penang have registered for vaccination – only 37.71 per cent of our target. This is considered a low figure.
“The state government, the local councils and the non-governmental organisations will continue to encourage more people to register for the vaccination,” said Chow, adding that Penang has a population of 1.3 million.
Khairy, however, praised Penang for its achievement, which he described as ‘very, very good.’
“I would like to congratulate the CM, state Secretariat and the state Health Department. So far, 96% of the targeted people received their first dose of vaccine.
“And almost 10,000 people, including the CM, had taken their full second dose of vaccine.
“In Malaysia, 7.5 million had registered for the vaccination, which is only 31% of our targeted population. In Penang, you are again above the registration rate.
“However, much effort is still needed to increase the registration,” Khairy said.
He said they would focus on factories with more than 5,000 workers. The vaccines, he said, would be given free but other logistics would be borne by the factories.
Khairy added that the phase two of the programme, with focus on senior citizens, OKU, and those with comorbidities, would begin on April 19.
From April 5, he said they would give a two-week notice to the people on the appointments via the MySejahtera system, SMS or phone calls.
He said the state Health Department would also be given a list of names for them to follow up.
“We’ve brought forward our target. We want to finish everything (vaccination programme) by December this year, not February 2022,” Khairy said.
State Secretary Datuk Abdul Razak Jaafar also briefed the meeting on the structure of the state Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF) and the strategies that it had implemented.
Among those present at the meeting were state Agrotech and Food Security, Rural Development and Health Committee chairman Dr Norlela Ariffin, Entrepreneurial Development, Trade and Industry Committee chairman Datuk Abdul Halim Hussain and MOSTI secretary-general Datuk Dr Siti Hamisah Tapsir.
Earlier, Khairy had made a courtesy call on Chow and they exchanged views on various subjects of interest.
Story by K.H. Ong
Pix by Alissala Thian