KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) has urged the Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF) to make Covid-19 vaccines available at all private general practitioners (GPs) clinics.
Yesterday, CITF said the vaccination exercise will no longer include private GPs since the Operation Surge Capacity that was launched on July 26 had reduced the number of vaccination centres (PPVs) operating in the Klang Valley.
However, MMA president Datuk Dr Subramaniam Muniandy said CITF stopped short of explaining the rationale of not including private GPs in the Covid-19 National Immunisation Programme (NIP) if they are giving privately procured vaccinations.
"Isn't the goal to vaccinate as many people as possible and achieve herd immunity in the quickest time possible?
"We are three weeks away from vaccinating adolescents who are 12 to 17 years old and 741 clinics in Selangor have been officially notified by ProtectHealth that vaccination appointments will be stopped.
"I think in light of these developments, it is only fair to assume that the private GPs would not be included in CITF's plans for the final phases of the NIP.
"If the private GPs are indeed going to continue to be involved, when was CITF planning on informing them?
"If abruptly ending the vaccination appointments at private GPs in Selangor meant otherwise, then the CITF should provide a proper explanation.
"Of course the private GPs have contributed to only five per cent of the vaccinations in the Klang Valley because it was never in the CITF's plans to prioritise GP participation from the beginning," he said in a statement today.
Yesterday, CITF had also reported that as of Aug 21, 107.7 per cent of the adult population in Klang Valley have received at least one vaccine dose and this includes undocumented people and non-resident foreigners.
Dr Subramaniam, however, questioned CITF on the credibility of the figures.
"There are still many in the Klang Valley who haven't even registered for the vaccine and this includes the high undocumented migrant population.
"How did the CITF arrive at this figure? We would welcome an explanation from them.
"The Health DG had proposed that GP participation in the NIP under ProtectHealth be increased, but we see a very half-hearted response from the CITF.
"Is CITF taking advice from the Health Ministry or is it acting independently?" he asked.
Dr Subramaniam also called on the authorities to explain the rationale for allowing the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry (MOSTI) to spearhead NIP instead of the Health Ministry.
"It is obvious the CITF are not the experts, but they are running the show for vaccinations.
"Even if they insist it should be them, they should at least consult the experts.
"Lastly, many Malaysians are still scratching their heads over why they can't take a five minute walk to their private GP clinic down the road to get vaccinated.
"These are very difficult times and the cost of traveling can be a burden for some.
"The CITF could help by giving the people what they have been wanting for all this time, by making the vaccines available at all private GP clinics nationwide," he said.