KUALA LUMPUR, June 6 — Several shopping malls and retailers’ associations have reiterated their eagerness to help the government speed up vaccination in the country by offering up their premises as vaccination centres.
In a statement today, they welcomed the government’s recognition of those working in the retail sector as “frontliners.”
“We applaud the announcement that 500,000 persons involved in the retail business and the shopping mall industry have been recognised as “frontliners” and to be vaccinated as soon as possible.
“To this end, shopping malls have been invited to provide the venue and facilities to set up vaccination centres within their malls. It is worthy to note that the shopping malls have enthusiastically responded and some 50-60 malls have expressed interest,’’ said the statement.
The statement was co-signed by Malaysia Shopping Malls Association (PPK), Malaysia Retailers Association (MRA), Malaysia Retail Chain Association (MRCA) and the Bumiputra Retailers Organisation (BRO).
The associations also stressed that they will subsidise the cost of the vaccination as a way to further help efforts by the federal government to vaccinate a sizeable amount of the general population
“The malls have offered to deeply subsidise this programme by only charging a notional RM10 per dose out of the RM100 to RM150 real cost plus RM15 per dose to be collected and paid to ProtectHealth Corporation for the supply of doctors/nurses/medical officers.
“Therefore, with two doses per course, the total charge is RM50 per course. Therefore, we look forward to the expeditious roll out of this programme at shopping malls for our frontliners as we are more than able and willing to play our role and contribute to the national agenda,’’ said the statement.
Malaysia has set a target to vaccinate some 80 per cent of its 32 million population under the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme by February 2022.
As part of the initiative, a non-profit organisation under the Ministry of Health, ProtectHealth Corporation, was appointed by the government to manage the participation of private general practitioners as well as other private entities under the National Immunisation Programme to ensure more effective implementation of the programme.
Previously, PPK stated that an RM50 fee per person will be collected under the planned Covid-19 vaccinations onsite at shopping malls for participating retail tenants.
While confirming that the Covid-19 vaccines will be provided by the Malaysian government for free under this partnership, PPK said shopping malls will be paying for the fees for doctors, nurses and medical officers to Health Ministry-owned ProtectHealth Corporation and all other antecedent costs.
However, both ProtectHealth corporation and the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs have denied collecting any fees from participating malls as the vaccination programme is already offered for free by the government.
In the statement, all four organisations acknowledge that the vaccination efforts under the programme are provided free by the government. However, it points to efforts taken by other private entities to provide vaccination shots at a cost.
Over the last few weeks, there have been many reports of other privatisation schemes that charge between RM100 to RM190 per dose i.e. RM200 to RM380 per course of two doses. In parallel, the government is also launching more public vaccination centres and mobile vaccination facilities.
“Kudos to these great efforts. All these proposals are meant to increase the capacity for vaccination and should be enthusiastically welcomed and not to be viewed as unfair competition. The public have choices to determine which venue to select which best meet their desire for speed, convenience, choice of vaccines etc.,” said the statement.
All four organisations however stressed the need for the government to take advantage of the current movement control order period to speed up vaccination rate in the country.
“What is of utmost urgency is that we take this lockdown period to immediately enable all the schemes and proposals to be implemented and be able to function before this lockdown is over.
“The experience of so many countries has proven that the only real solution to confidently and sustainably reopen and rebuild the economy and livelihoods is to vaccinate the majority of the population to reach herd immunity.
“These countries already have a head start to recover and rebuild their economy and we must not be left behind, to then having to work doubly hard to catch up.
“We fight a common battle and urgently need all hands and resources on board,’’ said the statement.
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