NST: No deadline for Covid-19 vaccine registration - Khairy

KUALA LUMPUR: Despite the low registration rate for Covid-19 vaccination, the government will not set a deadline for members of the public to sign up for it, for now.

Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said Malaysia was planning to draw up concessions for those who have received their full vaccine coverage, compared to those who have yet to get their shots.

"Once we start the ball rolling on this, after looking at the data and announcing the new regulations, we hope it will encourage more people to come forward, register and get vaccinated."

Khairy was drawing on the global trend, with more and more countries currently deliberating on what those who have received their full vaccination can do.

The United States' Centre for Disease Control and Prevention is among those in the process of formulating a list of new regulations for those who are vaccinated.

As such, he said the element of the "wait and see" attitude currently prevalent among the public would resolve itself in the next few months, especially when Phase 2 of the National Immunisation Programme (NIP) is carried out on senior citizens and those with chronic diseases.

Khairy said once those who had been reluctant to be vaccinated see that more and more people who are not frontliners have been safely inoculated without adverse side effects, such as permanent injuries or death and that the overall transmission, hospitalisation and death rates are starting to drop, they would be inclined to register.

"The important thing now is communication, not panic and worry that half the people are walking away (from getting registered). We should continue to communicate and listen, and be confident."

Khairy said he was confident that more people would register for the vaccination in the coming months.

"When they see others are vaccinated, they will also come forward to say that the vaccine is safe and effective because their family members or frienda have been vaccinated and they are doing well.

"For now, I don't think we should force people or have a deadline (for vaccine registration), it's more about having continuous engagement with the public."

Khairy was responding to questions from reporters on the low registration rate for the vaccination programme.

He said there were a lot of people who already had their minds made up about the vaccine and that they would just walk away when volunteers trained with information and materials approach them on information on the immunisation.

He said the government's main focus now was getting more people to register.

Khairy was responding to concerns expressed by Bangi MP Ong Kian Ming on the low registration rates for the Covid-19 vaccine at the 10 registration counters he had set up with local councilors in his constituency.

Among the concerns expressed by the Bangi constituents were they were not able to choose their Covid-19 vaccine, felt unsure how to register with MySejahtera and cited transportation issues to get to vaccination sites. There were also those who walked away from the volunteers when they were approached about the NIP.

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