KUCHING: Different people from all walks of life should be roped in to promote the importance and benefits of the Covid-19 vaccine as well as counter misinformation and hesitancy against it, said Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii.
He said this should include influencers, key opinion leaders, celebrities, religious leaders, social media influencers, athletes, and many others.
“This will help translate this important message down to the ground in a language that is identifiable and relatable to these different segments of society that these influencers and key leaders may have influence in.
“We must find ways to communicate this message in a relatable manner to answer some of the concerns people may have and also to counter all kinds of misinformation and fake news about vaccines that we see on social media nowadays,” he said when contacted today.
He said this when commenting on a recent news article in which psychologists said that in order to counter misinformation, influential people and social media influencers needed to be mobilised to promote vaccinations.
He said many of the concerns raised regarding the safety of the vaccine itself had to be addressed, adding that some quarters promoting unverified alternative treatments should also be debunked based on science and data.
If this was not done, Dr Yii said there would be more people taking a ‘wait and see’ approach, which in turn would further delay the current vaccination drive due to low registration.
“Currently in Sarawak, based on official data from the Covid-19 Vaccine Supply Access Guarantee Special Committee (JKJAV), we have about 1.2 million that are registered for the vaccine, and this translates to about 42 percent of our total population,” he said.
He pointed out that this was still low, especially if the aim was to achieve 80 percent herd immunity by August.
As such, he said even if Sarawak obtained more stock of vaccines in the coming months, there would be no point if people did not turn up to receive the vaccine. He emphasised that vaccines sitting in storage would not save lives.
“That is why the government must think out of the box to incentivise people to register and come to take the vaccine.
“We can learn from different countries all around the world that have come up with different kinds of incentives to further encourage their people to sign up for their programme,” urged Dr Yii.