KUCHING: There are numerous obstacles that need to be countered in the efforts to vaccinate the homeless in the state.
This was disclosed by Welfare, Community Well-being, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah who said the ministry must use different modus operandi in getting this group to be vaccinated.
She pointed out that locating the homeless is one of the main challenges as they usually move from one place to another.
“Moreover, identifying their level of health is also a challenge given that they do not have medical record thus needing to rely on information provided by them. Unfortunately, some of the homeless are involved in drug and substance abuse which obviously affects their health.
“The Ministry of Health (MoH) has said the vaccine with single dose would be more suitable to the homeless given that they are always moving around and it is difficult to track or contact them. However, we must utilise vaccine with two doses given that a single dose vaccine is not available yet,” she said this at vaccination centre (PPV) Stadium Perpaduan Kuching today (August 5).
Fatimah noted that the vaccination process for the homeless is an inter-agency operation as there are issues requiring assistance from relevant agencies.
She said there are two modus operandi being used to vaccinate the homeless in Kuching district.
“For today’s vaccination, we found that four of the homeless do not have their identification card and this is a challenge so we have to contact the National Registration Department. We also need the help of resident offices who are the chairman of the Divisional Disaster Management Committee as well as the Welfare Department (JKM) and Social Development Council (MPS) that have the records on the homeless.
“Cooperation is also needed with the health authorities as they will be conducting the final process. This inter-agencies process and cooperation is crucial as it ensures everything goes accordingly and help to achieve the objective of making sure the homeless are not left behind in the vaccination exercise,” she said.
Fatimah stated that the homeless who do not have any mental difficulties would be brought to vaccination centre (PPV) for inquiry and check-up and then the doctor would evaluate whether they are fit to get the vaccine.
She said the matter of concern is difficult for the homeless with mental difficulties who are categorised as people with disabilities (OKU) mentally.
“Consent in vaccination is a very important thing. The matter of consent for the homeless who are mentally well and those who are OKU mentally is different.
“The homeless with mental difficulties would require a psychiatrist or doctor from Sentosa Hospital to give consent on their behalf,” she said.
Fatimah added that the vaccination process for the homeless in the state is set to be completed by the end of August.
She disclosed that vaccination for the homeless will take place at various parts of the state such as in Miri and Sarikei.