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Khairy: Protecting workers in critical sectors is key - The Star Online

PUTRAJAYA: Vaccinating workers in factories and from the industrial sector in Malaysia is key to controlling the number of Covid-19 outbreaks at the workplace, says Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.

He said the Public-Private Covid-19 Industrial Immunisation Programme (Pikas) would start by vaccinating workers from the manufacturing sector.

“If we look at the daily Covid-19 data, 11 out of 15 clusters on June 13 were workplace outbreaks with almost 200 confirmed active cases.

“This is why we made the decision for the fourth phase, or the pandemic control phase, to kick off as soon as possible to reduce the number of workplace clusters and stop the transmission of infection among workers.

“The pandemic control phase will involve our critical economic sector, which is the backbone of our economic development.

“This is important to achieve the balance between lives and livelihood,” said Khairy at his weekly Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF) joint press conference with Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba.

Khairy is the coordinating minister of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme.

Pikas, which is the fourth phase of the national vaccination programme, is slated to kick off tomorrow.

For the month of June, Khairy said 30,000 vaccination doses would be set aside from the country’s supply for factory workers.

“We will start with the manufacturing sector, which is operating during the lockdown.

“The International Trade and Industry Ministry will be tasked to set up PPVs (vaccination centres) for these sectors.

“After the manufacturing sector, PPVs for other sectors, including construction, plantation, retail and hospitality, will also be opened.

“These will be done in phases to ensure that the sectors that remain open during the lockdown are given protection through our vaccination programme,” he said.

Khairy also said that about 30,000 Covid-19 vaccine doses would be delivered to Labuan in “one or two weeks” to address the recent surge in cases in the federal territory.

“A discussion was held this morning and there will be a reshuffling of vaccine deliveries especially for Labuan, as the outbreak situation there has become quite critical.

“We will deliver more than 30,000 doses in a week or two. The CITF will look into its delivery capacity to ensure that Labuan gets these 30,000 doses as soon as possible.

“This is for starters because Labuan probably needs about 60,000 doses,” he added.

The number of active Covid-19 cases in Labuan has seen an exponential rise in the past few days, with new cases reaching over 200 daily.

The island has a population of about 100,000.

On June 13, Labuan’s infectivity rate had an RT value of 1.12, the highest in the country.

Khairy said private medical practitioners roped in for the vaccination programme would be able to carry out 145,000 inoculations a day by July.

“As of June 11, a total of 430,219 out of 4,227,550 doses were administered by private medical practitioners registered under ProtectHealth.

“This is equivalent to 10.2% of the vaccinations that have been done.

“Private medical practitioners will contribute 60,000 doses a day this week, and this will increase to 78,000 a day from June 23,” he added.

As for payment, Khairy said RM14 was paid to private medical practitioners per vaccination and another RM1 would be paid to ProtectHealth, a company under the Health Ministry.

“This (payment to ProtectHealth) is for the programme’s administration such as training, development of proprietary systems, registering the private medical practitioners and monitoring vaccination activities, among others,” he explained.

On the latest vaccine delivery statistics, he said 1.3 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine would be delivered to Malaysia in three phases between June 16 and July 2.

To date, the country has received 3.6 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine, 1.6 million doses of the Sinovac vaccine, and 648,100 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.