GPs want to help fix ‘broken vaccination programme’, want simplified process via clinics

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No need for a computerised system that does not function properly, that is too cumbersome and actually discourages people from getting vaccinated.

Private medical practitioners today urged ministers to “wake up” and face reality as Covid-19 sweeps the country with a rising number of new infections and deaths.

They chided Putrajaya for coming out with grand plans like “super vaccine centres” and mobile vaccination trucks when all the government has to do is enlist the help of the 7,000 private general practitioners (GPs) in the country to expedite the vaccination programme.

Federation of Private Medical Practitioners’ Associations Malaysia (FPMPAM) president Dr Steven KW Chow said the country does not need a “canggih” (sophisticated) system that does not work, adding that technology is supposed to help and not be a hindrance.

“For starters, the government should remove unnecessary red tape to expedite the Covid-19 vaccine roll-out,” he said.

“The 7,000 GPs and the thousands of Klinik Kesihatan staff can easily vaccinate up to 50 patients daily and, together with the private hospitals, achieve critical mass in a very short time,” Chow said in a statement.

“All the government needs to do is to deliver the vaccine efficiently to all of them.

“This can be done by existing pharmaceutical distributors who have the capability and the capacity to do so.”

He also said that there were complaints from elderly sick patients being allocated vaccination centres a distance away from their home.

“They have to spend long, tiring hours travelling, locating the place, navigating through the complex and travelling back.

“This is not fair, not correct and not cost-efficient. It is a sign of a broken system.

“Patients should be allowed to see the doctor nearest their home, get assessed, vaccinated and then have the information immediately updated into their MySejahtera,” he said.

Chow also said having the Health Ministry’s Private Medical Practice Control Section inspect and approve GP clinics for vaccination is not needed.

“They are all already registered under the Private Healthcare Facilities and Services Act and GPs have been administering vaccines long before some of our ministers were born.

“Perhaps the ministers themselves may have taken vaccines from the very same GPs when they were babies,” Chow said.

He also said there is no need for a computerised system that does not function properly, and that the present system is too cumbersome and actually discourages people from getting vaccinated.

“We don’t need apps that do not talk to one another. We need people to go to their doctors and have their jabs on the spot.

“The UK or the US does not have a computerised system. The (UK) National Health Service rolled it out to all their GPs. They just give a card after vaccination and they have done it and succeeded.

Bernama

“We don’t need a canggih (sophisticated) system that does not work. Technology is supposed to help and not be a hindrance.

“We urge the government to do the needful immediately as it is already very late,” he said.

Chow said mass vaccination of vulnerable segments of the population is the only way forward, and it is imperative to do this in the shortest time possible.

Despite official figures, Chow said Malaysia is likely facing tens of thousands of Covid-19 infections each day.

“It is an accepted fact that for every confirmed case, there would be three to 10 undetected cases in the community.

“So, let’s face it. We are dealing with tens of thousands of new infectious daily. This is a war of big numbers and we cannot win this with finger-pricking fire-fighting measures,” he said.