Malaysia Bagus News
Malaysia Bagus News
PETALING JAYA: With the national immunisation programme off to a relatively slow start, experts say private entities can boost registration among their workers and customers.
As of Monday, 8,602,156 Malaysians had registered to receive the Covid-19 vaccine, or just 35.5% of the 80% target needed to achieve herd immunity, despite registration having begun over a month ago.
In addition, a total of 1,018,937 vaccine doses have been administered in the first phase of the programme, comprising 609,153 first doses and 409,784 second doses. With just 1.6% considered to have completed their course of vaccination, Malaysia’s rollout ranks alongside the likes of Jordan and Bolivia.
Internationally, private initiatives have been established to incentivise vaccine acceptance, with companies offering perks to those who can prove they have been vaccinated.
According to the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA), such incentives could play a role in improving registration and take-up.
“Private companies here can definitely do more,” MMA president Dr Subramaniam Muniandy told FMT.
In the US, Krispy Kreme is offering a free donut every day until the end of the year to anyone who can produce a vaccination certificate, while beer company Samuel Adams has offered to send the cost of a beer to the first 10,000 people to tag them on social media with proof they have been vaccinated in their #ShotsforSam programme.
To encourage their workforce to get their jabs, Target, McDonald’s, Aldi and a host of others are also offering cash incentives or days off to any employee who gets vaccinated.
While Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has mooted allowing fully vaccinated people to travel across state borders, health minister Dr Adham Baba said it was still being assessed by health authorities.
The health ministry has also floated the idea that those who have donated blood more than 50 times be given priority in the second phase of vaccination beginning this month, a plan Adham hopes to raise with the Covid-19 Vaccine Supply Access Guarantee Special Committee.
On the private side, OCBC is offering its staff a day off and transport reimbursement to get vaccinated, while local chains Inside Scoop, My Pizza Lab and myBurgerLab offered discounts to anyone who could show them proof of registration until the end of February.
“Many clusters have been connected to workplaces and have caused losses to the companies involved. Therefore, they should offer incentives like one-off payments or an extra day off to encourage their employees to get vaccinated,” Subramaniam said.
He saw no reason why consumer outlets such as restaurants or retailers could not follow the lead of their US counterparts by offering perks to their customers.
“We should be encouraging people to get vaccinated to protect each other and save lives in line with ‘Lindungi Diri, Lindungi Semua’ (Protect Yourself, Protect Everyone). The discounts for the vaccinated should be seen as just an added benefit.”
However, former deputy health minister Dr Lee Boon Chye said the offer of benefits should only be considered once supply exceeded demand, which was not the case currently.
“It is still premature, but could be considered later,” he said, as the government must be careful to maximise the impact of early vaccine doses by targeting the groups most at risk.
On the government’s proposal to boost priority for frequent blood donors, Lee said that unless they fell into a high-risk group such as those with comorbidities or frequent interpersonal contact, there was little need to push them up the queue.
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