While we applaud our Government’s efforts to speed up vaccination against the COVID-19 disease in the country, the numerous viral videos and subsequent statements from the people in authority with their unconvincing response is getting many netizens weary and concerned whether they are actually being vaccinated!
There are some reservations on the authentication process of the vaccination being properly performed and subsequently if the Vaccination Certificates issued thereafter be recognised by the world at large when international travel is allowed.
The numerous news articles about empty syringes and un-discharged vaccines into arms have caused further unease amongst those already vaccinated whether they are actually protected. This will have long-lasting and severe implications if not sorted out properly and promptly before it is too late.
The admission by the authorities regarding the fake inoculations by the PPV staff is alarming, and statements like these are isolated cases caused by human errors is not comforting and responsible as many are now unsure whether they were inoculated in the first place and there are no tests available to certify if the person has the required antibody to fight the COVID-19 virus.
Collectively, we would like to urge the relevant Government authorities to urgently establish the standard procedures to be adopted to ensure proper and verifiable vaccination are being carried out. We have a few concerns such as follows:
- How the vaccines are stored upon arrival to Malaysia while waiting to be transferred to vaccination centres, in transit and prior to the actual vaccination; to avoid degradation as most of these vaccines are temperature-sensitive.
- How do the authorities fully verify that the real vaccine is being drawn and injected into arms – in view of several videos purportedly showing failure to inject the syringe contents now circulating in social media?
- How these vaccination certificates would be authenticated and not forged by unscrupulous persons like the undated police permits for interstate travel. These must be made foolproof and forge proof.
For more than eighteen months, the border closures have caused untold sufferings – mentally, socially and economically not just to the workers but also to business people and immediate families (practically everyone).
Currently, we are awaiting the announcement from the authorities on the relaxation of movement restrictions for those who are fully vaccinated.
Any failure to establish strict vaccination protocol and enforcement of the verification process may jeopardise the reopening of our borders, in particular with our closest neighbour, Singapore with whom we conduct a substantial portion of our businesses and employ a large number of our workers.
Presently, for any cross-border travelling between Malaysia and Singapore, there is a requirement to undergo quarantine twice. This is also impractical, too costly and is causing downtime for the workforce and businesses.
It is our hope that we should be more proactive and allow fully vaccinated travellers easy access to the country especially if coming from countries with low COVID-19 infection rates. Colour coding countries based on their infection rates may also help as adopted by other countries. Cross-border travel can be made much easier especially for those who have been fully vaccinated by producing their Vaccination Certificate upon arrival and to undergo an RT-PCR test at the point of entry and doing away with quarantine if one tests negative.
Adopting such arrangements will greatly improve the economic condition of the citizens and businesses especially in Johor Bahru.
Those not vaccinated or without a Vaccination Certificate ought to be disallowed for cross-border or inter-state travel. This in turn would definitely encourage more to be vaccinated to create herd immunity.
It is hoped that the relevant authorities take heed of the peoples’ plea and act accordingly to save both lives and livelihood before it is too late.
*Article written by Freddie Lee, Dr Lee Kim Tiong and Dr Ab Razak Samsudin.
**The facts and views expressed are solely that of the author/authors and do not necessarily reflect that of the editorial board.