Sunday, May 30, 2021

Khairy Jamaluddin must be clear as to when in June the government can achieve daily vaccination rate of 150,000 doses per day and whether it is the maximum or average vaccinate rate?

Media Statement by Yeo Bee Yin, Member of Parliament for Bakri, on Sunday 30 May 2021, in Bakri Johor.

Khairy Jamaluddin must be clear as to when in June the government can achieve daily vaccination rate of 150,000 doses per day and whether it is the maximum or average vaccinate rate?
With skyrocketing infection rate, vaccination rate should increase beyond 150,000 doses per day by involving private general partitioners and government clinics nationwide.
Government should simplify the registration and recordkeeping system of Covid-19 vaccination instead of over relying on MySejahtera and the current management system.

1. Based on the previous estimation of supply and demand curve by the government, our cumulative vaccine administered should be at around 6 million by now (assuming 80% usage rate of the total supply of about 8 million by the end of May).
2. However, due to the hiccups in getting vaccine supply, as of 27th May 2021, only 2.7 million doses have been administered - 1,725,364 first dose and 987,012 second dose, which is about 63% and 37% of total vaccine administered respectively. In terms of percentage of population, only 5.4% and 3% of population receiving at least first dose and fully vaccinated respectively.
3. Based on the estimated cumulative vaccine administered of (1) and the same ratio of first and second dose distribution as (2), we are supposed to be at vaccination rate of 12% and 7% for first dose and full vaccination respectively.
4. What is the cost of the delay of our vaccination rollout? Maybe we can look into US case study and the impact of vaccination toward the number positive cases (US has similar ratio of first and second dose distribution as us). Between roughly 5.4% (first) and 3% (second) vaccination rate and 12% and 7% is more than 40% drop of positive cases!

5. Of course, we can’t compare directly as there are other factors involved such as movement of the people. However, what we can conclude is that the delay in our vaccination rollout has significant impact on the number of positive cases every day.
6. More than 1,000 people has died from Covid in just May alone. If our vaccination rollout were to run as what the government has previously planned, these people did not necessarily need to die! Many more did not necessarily need to go through the suffering Covid-19 sickness caused. Indeed, delay in vaccination has caused unnecessary deaths.
7. Therefore, I would like to seek clarification from the immunization minister Khairy Jamaluddin about his announcement of government plan to ramp up daily vaccination rate to 150,000 doses per day. Is it by 1 June, mid of June or end of June? This is because delay in weeks can be a matter of life and death to hundreds of Malaysians.
8. I would also like to know whether the 150,000 doses per day target is the maximum daily vaccination rate or the average? This is because I’ve noticed that the government tend to announce daily vaccination rate on the days when it was high or use the language of “daily vaccination rate up to xxxx” instead of giving 7 days average so to paint a better picture than reality on the ground. Image below shows Malaysia daily vaccination rate in the month of May. Note that whenever the ministers announced the daily vaccination rate, it was always on the days when the numbers are high.

9. Therefore, whether 150,00 dose per day target is the maximum or average makes a big difference in the total vaccination rate. If we can achieve vaccination rate of at least 150,000 dose per day on average for the month of June from 1 June 2021, we will be able to see vaccination rate of 14% first dose and 8% full vaccination by the end of next month and it will help to bring down the total number positives cases.
10. In fact, with the current skyrocketing infection rate, we should aim even higher than average of 150,000 doses per day by involving private general practitioners (GPs) and government clinics nationwide. As it is, almost all of them already have facilities to store vaccines except with Pfizer vaccine that need special storage.
11. The minister announced recently that there will be nearly 16 million more doses of vaccines supply in June and July, 12 million of which is Sinovac that only require normal refrigeration. Even if the government can achieve 150,000 doses on average from 1 June 2021 (that is a very big IF), at 80% usage rate, it will only need about 11 million doses of vaccine supply. In another word, there will be at least 5 million more extra vaccines that can be distributed to GPs and government clinics around the country.
12. Lastly, let’s just face it, the RM 70 million MySejahtera and vaccination rollout management system are incapable of coping higher vaccination rate. Even at the current vaccination rate, MySejahtera is already making errors in appointment arrangement and the hotline is always down.
13. In addition, the government has listed priority for Covid-19 vaccination for the second phase of the national rollout targeting the elderly and people with comorbidities, but until now, many of them that already registered still haven’t been assigned any vaccination slot by MySejahtera and when called, the hotline was down.
14. This still happen after 3 months of very slow vaccination rollout, what makes the government so confident that by next month the system will become efficient as we ramp up the vaccination rate? Is the team behind MySejahtera and the current management system really capable to revamp the system in such a short time frame? I doubt so.
15. Moving forward, we need a simpler system for registration and recordkeeping, perhaps a decentralized one. My 1-year-old toddler has been injected many vaccines since his birth and all we have to do was for the pediatrician to record them in a card and for the hospital to keep the vaccination records and report to the government. Why when it comes to Covid-19 vaccination, the process becomes so complicated?
16. At the very least, doctors in both private and public hospitals should be able to register their patients with comorbidities, request for vaccine supplies from the government and administer them accordingly. Then we can at least ensure the vulnerable groups are vaccinated, instead of just waiting for MySejahtera to finally get it right.
17. Our healthcare system is at the brink of breaking down. Unprecedented speed of vaccination with special attention to the yet-to-be-vaccinated vulnerable groups in June while the nation is locked down is a major step that we need to take to give breathing space to the healthcare system and to prepare us for opening up. I hope the government will finally take whole-of-society approach to make sure vaccination rollout ramp up really happen in June. Delay no more!