Press Statement By Julian Tan:
The government urged to start to allow walk-in vaccination for senior citizens by only using their MyKad. We received many calls for help from senior citizens, many of whom are stressed out about not knowing how to use the MySejahtera app or register online. There also those that are not able to read the small print on their smartphone screens. Many also are due to the language barrier as currently MySejahtera only available in English or Bahasa Malaysia. As a result, many missed their appointments because they do not know how to navigate the apps.
Walk-ins should be allowed for this group and the disabled, as many were not tech-savvy. They’re also those that did not seek help from their children as they do not want to burden them. As for those with vaccine hesitancy, they become even more unmotivated to get vaccinated, protecting both them and their loved ones.
Now that we have more vaccine supply, we started to see many younger and of good health got their vaccination appointments—some almost immediately, only a few days after registration. But, on the other hand, imagine the feeling of those Senior citizens. They had registered months with chronic diseases and yet are still waiting for their appointments. Contrary to what Khairy Jamaluddin, The science, technology and innovation minister said otherwise that the present system (MySejahtera) able to prioritize senior citizens.
We understand that there are challenges in this kind of arrangement. The vaccines had to be thawed before they could be administered, hence pre-book and crowd control. This can be overcome by implement the proposed walk-ins by stages according to age group. Select PPV centres that are senior citizens, OKU friendly, and proven well organised in managing the large crowd. Starting with those most senior, e.g. 80 and above, then 70-80, etc. If the number of turn up is big, we can narrow the age range e.g. 65-70. The numbering system also will help gauge the availability of the vaccines for that day. For the worst-case scenario, if the number of turnout is too many, they can continue the next day. If this were the case, put a big sign out there at a strategic location that ‘walk-ins – FULL’, they don’t even need to go down from their car and can drive off. This is still better than not having any appointment at all. However, it is believed that the number should be manageable with proper planning at this stage of the vaccination program.
We need to urgently re-evaluate the strategy in reaching those in the high-risk category for vaccination and increase the speed and access to vaccination. The distress for senior citizens is real for not having registered or still waiting for a life-saving vaccine against a disease that is killing many in their generation.