Allow private practitioners to dispense vaccine

Aspirasi president Lina Soo

KUCHING: The state government should allow a panel of doctors in private practice to dispense the Covid-19 vaccine in order to expedite the vaccination process.

Sarawak People’s Aspiration Party (Aspirasi) president Lina Soo said the private health sector could be mobilised in order to achieve the state government’s ambitious vaccination goals.

She pointed out that the state government’s commitment to achieve herd immunity and contain the Covid-19 pandemic was reassuring.

“The private health sector can be mobilised very speedily and efficiently to complement the government’s efforts in ensuring the people are vaccinated in the shortest time possible to achieve the vaccination goals.

“To vaccinate 999,834 people in Phase 3 of the Sarawak vaccination programme from May to August will require 8,332 shots per day which doubles to 16,664 shots per day if the vaccine is double-dose.

“It is unrealistic that the Sarawak government facility can reach this target given the state’s size and geographical nature if the private sector is not engaged in the process,” she said.

She added that there were many benefits in approving the private sector to participate in the mass vaccination programme.

“First of all, we are a democratic country and allowing the fee-paying consumer to pay for the vaccine of his choice at an approved vaccination institution at earliest time possible is a consumer right.

“Secondly, the government has one less patient to pay for with every fee-paying patient. There is no need to fear that this will mean the vaccines for the most-needy will be sacrificed as the Ministry of Health can still dictate the quota and schedule for the private sector,” she said.

With regard to the three vaccines which have been approved in the country, she said that efficacy was not a crucial factor as all vaccines are good.

“Efficacy is only an unproven claim based upon small sample size which provides insufficient and unreliable data to draw upon. Only the real mass vaccination results can prove any efficiency claim. The efficiency of flu shots is only at 45% and we can live with that.

“With modern technology, tracking and planning becomes easy. Just add a feature in MySejahtera application on the type of vaccine of choice and vaccination route preferred. With cloud analytics, it will give the government the data to optimise planning and delivery,” Soo added.