PETALING JAYA,Mar 18: The association representing private hospitals in Malaysia has urged the government to consider allowing private vaccination programmes to speed up inoculation for economic frontliners.
Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia (APHM) president Dr Kuljit Singh called for Putrajaya to review the first phase of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme in order to further strengthen the second phase, which is due to begin next month.
“As we now move into phase two in 10 days, we hope there will be more participation of private healthcare establishments, including private practitioners,” he said in a statement.
Kuljit expressed concern over the limited number of private hospitals selected for the first phase of the programme, where certain states like Melaka were only slated to vaccinate private hospital staff by the end of the month or in the second phase.
“Some of the private hospitals in this state (Melaka) are big economic contributors to the country and state in terms of medical tourists.
“We hope the vaccination programme can be enhanced in some of these states, including the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia,” he said, noting that smaller towns in Sarawak were also left out from the first phase.
Kuljit added that APHM was currently discussing with the government on the possibility of covering the cost of vaccination services at private healthcare establishments to avoid burdening the public.
With the private sector’s “strengthening partnership” with the government, he hoped for the immunisation programme to be completed by the end of 2021.
Two private hospitals in Kuala Lumpur were the first private healthcare facilities to provide vaccinations from March 1, followed by several others in various states, mainly in Selangor.
Kuljit had previously been reported as saying that the vaccinations at the private hospitals went well with no wastages or incidents reported, adding that it proved that private hospitals were capable of running the vaccination programme.