(Updated)

Govt to discuss free vaccination for foreign workers, expatriates, says Khairy

Govt to discuss free vaccination for foreign workers, expatriates, says Khairy
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KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 5): The Special Vaccine Supply Access Guarantee Committee (JKJAV) will discuss whether to vaccinate foreign workers and expatriates for free to effectively curb Covid-19 outbreaks. 

JKJAV co-chairman Khairy Jamaluddin said the Cabinet had asked the committee to make a recommendation on the matter in a couple of weeks. 

Khairy who is also the science, technology, and innovation minister, said the discussion will involve the Home Ministry, Human Resource Ministry and Foreign Ministry. 

“The principle is very simple; we need to vaccinate foreign workers to make sure they are safe to make sure we are also safe.

“The more people get vaccinated, the safer we are; if we were to only vaccinate Malaysians without vaccinating foreigners, it is still a waste because we will not achieve herd immunity,” he said in a press conference here today. 

Khairy said the measures are important to encourage employers to ensure their employees get vaccinated while achieving the goal of vaccinating as many as they could.  

Khairy said the government has identified 55 locations, namely in sub-urban areas, to store Pfizer vaccine that requires ultra-low temperature freezers. 

Commenting on the National Vaccination Plan which would be finalised this Thursday and scheduled to start in February, he said it would be presented to Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin next Monday before being presented to the Cabinet on Wednesday. 

“We will start with risk assessment, who is at high risk, and we will start with that group, that will be announced after the Cabinet approves the plan,” he said.

Khairy added that Malaysians could get access to the vaccine by registering themselves via the MySejahtera application after the plan was approved. 

“It's voluntary, so if you want to get vaccinated, you have to sign up. We'll have a sign-up feature at MySejahtera where you can sign up to say that you consented and that you registered to get vaccinated,” he said.

The Rembau MP said that the Health Ministry (MoH) would be monitoring the adverse or side effects of the vaccine for the first few years and the public are encouraged to report any side effects on the MySejahtera application.

Earlier, Khairy attended the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) proceedings on the procurement of the vaccines which was also attended by Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba and Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

Meanwhile, PAC chairman Wong Kah Woh in a statement said the committee was satisfied with the testimonies and explanations from Khairy, Dr Adham and Dr Noor Hisham on the issue of procurement and use of the Covid-19 vaccine.

"The proceeding is in line with the PAC mission to ensure that there is transparency in government spending for the benefit of the people.

"For the first time, PAC will hold an exit conference with MOSTI and MoH before the PAC report is tabled in the Dewan Rakyat to ensure that all the conditions of the agreement are complied with," he said.