Why vaccinate politicians ahead of healthcare workers, asks DAP

Picture via Facebook/Boo Cheng Hau

By John Isaac

JOHOR DAP committee member Dr Boo Cheng Hau has questioned the logic of vaccinating elected representatives ahead of more at-risk healthcare workers.

While both groups qualify for early vaccination under Phase 1, Boo pointed out that unlike elected representatives, some healthcare workers deal directly with Covid-19 patients, including administering tests on them.

He said this includes private healthcare workers who have to administer tests on Covid-19 patients.

Boo, who is himself a private healthcare general practitioner and was previously infected with Covid-19, said healthcare workers face a higher risk than elected representatives.

“Many ministers and state exco members have already got their first dose of Covid-19 vaccine before both the public and private healthcare workers have got theirs.

“Quite astonishingly, these political leaders are actually listed as Category 2 for vaccination prioritisation, together with private general medical practitioners, dentists and healthcare workers,” Boo said in a statement reported by Malaysiakini.

Several senior government leaders have received their first dose of Covid-19 vaccine but other leaders, such as Home Minister Hamzah Zainudin and Perlis Menteri Besar Azlan Man, have given up their slot to healthcare workers.

Boo was responding to the guideline issued by the Special Committee for Ensuring Access to Covid-19 Vaccine Supply (JKJAV), which defines who qualifies for early vaccination under Phase 1.

He said if the Covid-19 vaccine is to be administered to elected representatives at this juncture, they should be in the high-risk group with co-morbidity and are senior citizens aged above 60.

“It is not only an inequality in prioritising vaccination among both the public and private health care workers but it shows how sick and selfish our leaders are,” Boo said.

The JKJAV guideline was drafted in response to mounting complaints of attempts to jump the vaccine queue.

The guideline groups qualified personnel for early vaccination under Phase 1 into two categories.

The first category involves healthcare workers and technicians who are directly involved in dealing with and treating patients.

They include medical officers, pharmacists, science officers, nurses, X-ray technicians and ambulance drivers.

The second category includes the wider healthcare community, such as general practitioners, private dentists, traditional medicine practitioners and private lab workers.

Also included in the second category are enforcement officers, teachers with multiple morbidities, ministers and elected representatives.