KUALA LUMPUR, March 4 — Six university hospitals have been entrusted to serve as Vaccine Administration Centres (VACs) to assist the government in implementing the National COVIV-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK), Minister of Higher Education Datuk Seri Dr Noraini Ahmad said.
The six university hospitals are Universiti Teknologi Mara Medical Special Centre (UiTMMSC); Universiti Malaya Medical Centre (PPUM); Canselor Tuanku Muhriz Hospital, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (HCTM UKM); Universiti Sains Malaysia Hospital (HUSM); Sultan Ahmad Shah Medical Centre @IIUM (SASMEC @IIUM) and the Universiti Putra Malaysia Hospital (HPUPM).
Noraini said the six university hospitals had received their supply of the vaccine in stages since Feb 25 with HPUPM to be the last to receive it from March 15.
“Universiti Malaysia Sabah Hospital (HUMS), however, has yet to be registered with the Ministry of Health (MOH) to be turned into a VAC. The application has been made and HUMS is fully prepared to function as a VAC if included in the next phase (of PICK).
“As of now, the MOH had allocated 22,018 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to these university hospitals for administration to their frontliners,” she told reporters after witnessing the vaccination process for frontliners at the UiTMMSC in Sungai Buloh, near here, today.
The minister said the vaccination would also involve the staff from the universities’ respective Medical Faculty, Dentistry Faculty and Health Centre.
In detail, she said PPUM received 9,389 doses of the vaccine in this first phase, followed by HCTM UKM (4,134 doses), HUSM (3,148 doses), SASMEC @IIUM (2,370 doses), HPUPM (1,547 doses), UiTMMSC (1,254 doses) and HUMS (176 doses).
She said all the university hospitals had also handled COVID-19 patients and screening tests since last year.
When asked whether the university hospitals had sufficient capacity to store the vaccine, she said the MOH only allowed the university hospitals to serve as VACs and not Vaccine Storage Centres (VSCs) due to the shortage of pharmaceutical freezers.
“However, the MOH had provided three top-loading freezers to SASMEC @IIUM, and one top-loading freezer and four cool boxes to HPUPM early this month to store their vaccine supplies,” she said.
Meanwhile, Noraini said she would get her first dose of the vaccine at another appropriate time as a priority should be given to the frontliners, including the doctors, nurses and lab workers at the university hospitals.
“Not that I’m scared (to get the jab), but I strongly believe that the priority should be given to the frontliners,” she added.