You could soon be able to get both FREE and PAID COVID-19 vaccines at private clinics and hospitals!
Here are our thoughts on private clinics and hospitals offering free and paid COVID-19 vaccines!
FREE Private COVID-19 Vaccines From 19 April Onwards!
On 29 March 2021, the Malaysia Science, Technology and Innovation Minister, Khairy Jamaluddin, announced that private GPs will be able to administer the free COVID-19 vaccines from 19 April 2021 onwards, as part of the Phase 2 rollout.
Registered general practitioners will be asked to provide an indicative list of their patients who want to be vaccinated at their clinics.
However, he did not expect the private GP option to really drive the free vaccination programme, because :
- there are logistical challenges of getting certain vaccines – like the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine – from vaccine storage locations to their clinics.
- general practitioners might be able to administer only dozens of shots per day.
We should point out that the current bottleneck for the COVID-19 vaccination programme in Malaysia is a shortage of vaccines, not a shortage of manpower.
PAID Private COVID-19 Vaccines Possibly In Q3 / Q4 2021!
The Association of Private Hospitals of Malaysia (APHM) has requested to run a parallel paid vaccination programme, to help achieve herd immunity.
Mr. Khairy, who said that he would hold discussions with private hospitals on the issue, said that this might only take place in the third or fourth quarter of 2021. There is, after all, a shortage of COVID-19 vaccines globally.
Our Opinion On Private COVID-19 Vaccination In Malaysia
Yes To Private GPs Helping With Vaccination
While vaccine supply is currently the bottleneck, it is important to co-opt private GPs into the free COVID-19 vaccination programme.
We need to start preparing for when vaccines become more readily available. We cannot wait until that happens, before we start bringing in the private GPs.
Private GPs will greatly expand the reach of the free vaccination programme, speeding it up while reducing the load on government hospitals and clinics.
No To Private Hospitals Buying COVID-19 Vaccines
A paid parallel vaccination programme this early could undercut the COVID-19 vaccination programme by :
- offering the rich and wealthy the ability to cut queue over more vulnerable people,
- exacerbating vaccine supply constraints by purchasing them at higher prices,
- distort perception of certain vaccines, by offering the option to purchase “superior vaccines“
- potentially wasting precious vaccine doses, as doses not purchased by customers for the day may have to be discarded
As supply of vaccines is limited globally, there is simply no logic in allowing private hospitals to purchase their own COVID-19 vaccines to sell for profit.
When it comes to manpower, it makes more sense to co-opt the tens of thousands private clinics across Malaysia, than the few hundred private hospitals.
The COVID-19 pandemic is a GLOBAL healthcare issue. The focus should be on vaccinating people as quickly as possible, so we can fully reopen our economy. Not on creating a new opportunity for profit off the pandemic.
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