By Chew Lip Song
JOURNALISTS in Sarawak should be given priority under Phase 2 of the Covid-19 National Immunisation Programme, Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii said.
The media, he added plays a crucial role in the dissemination of information and the press corp had to attend functions and media conferences, making them at high risk of infection.
“That is why it is crucial for the media – especially those in the field – to be among the first few inoculated against Covid-19,” Dr Yii said in a statement today.
He added that the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) had earlier announced that members of the media would be included in Phase 1 of the vaccination programme, but only 13 had been innoculated.
“It is disappointing that they did not prioritise the rest of the media even after taking account their risk they face and even risk to transmit as they are active in the community.
“While under the federal guidelines, media are not in Phase 1, but SDMC should if they claim to have the autonomy and authority to decide, include them urgently in view of the increasing cases here in Sarawak, especially asymptomatic cases,” Dr Yii added.
Considering the media was not only likely to spread the disease, but also get infected due to the nature of their jobs, they should be given priority under the immunisation plan, he said. On top of that, the media play an important role in disseminate information, which is necessary in managing a public health crisis.
He also called on the Sarawak government to reduce the number of public events and physical press conferences until all those involved are properly protected and the Covid-19 infection cases in the State are under control.