Penang manufacturers set for mass vaccination, awaits rollout


GEORGE TOWN: The manufacturing sector in Penang hopes the Federal government will expedite the rollout of the mass vaccination programme for economic frontliners once the new batch of COVID-19 vaccines arrives in Malaysia, expected in June.

Special investment adviser to the Chief Minister of Penang Datuk Lee Kah Choon said several manufacturing associations had already been preparing the groundwork to implement mass vaccination programmes for industrial workers.

He said that coordinated means under the public-private partnership immunisation model was needed in order to effectively streamline the mass vaccination for the economic frontliners and achieve herd immunity.

“With Penang as one of the top foreign direct investment recipients among Malaysian states, we hope that the Federal government can expedite the mass vaccination programme rollout for our employees once the new batch of vaccines arrives in Malaysia,” he said in a virtual press conference here, today.

Representatives from the Free Industrial Zone, Penang, Companies’ Association, Small and Medium Enterprises Association Malaysia (Samenta), InvestPenang, Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM), and the Association of Malaysian Medical Industries also attended the event.

The Ministry of International Trade and Industry has introduced a Public Private Partnership Immunisation Model, allowing companies with over 1,500 employees to set up on-site vaccination centres, where the government would bear the costs of the vaccines while the logistics and medical personnel expenses would be incurred by the private sector.

Meanwhile, Samenta national secretary-general Yeoh Seng Hooi said among the concerns it has with the mass vaccination programme is the logistics of the vaccines, whether or not they would be able to reach the small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Yeoh said that SMEs were one of the largest economic contributors to Malaysia, but at the same time, they have been hit the hardest during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The rollout of the vaccine is going to be critical (for SMEs), so we hope that if there is any mass vaccination programme, we can be allowed to be part of it alongside the larger companies,” he added. – Bernama

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