Densely populated housing areas like low-cost housing complexes or People’s Housing Projects (PPR), where most of the residents are from the B40 income group, are a vulnerable group in the midst of the current pandemic.
They have a higher risk of contracting Covid-19 and transmitting to others, as it is difficult for them to have physical distancing.
Covid-19 infections in Malaysia continue to increase, and the health care system is on the brink. On August 8 alone, we registered more than 18,688 new Covid-19 cases, increasing the total caseload to 1,262,540. There were 360 new deaths.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), vaccination, in conjunction with other public health initiatives, is the most effective method to protect oneself and reduce infection rates.
It is important to get PPR residents vaccinated, and no one, especially those in vulnerable groups, should be left behind.
The University of Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) is one of the Vaccine Administration Centres (VACs) assisting the government with the implementation of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK).
Phase One of the programme started in March 2021. Having vaccinated all the health care workers and patients in UMMC and some residents from surrounding areas, the team recognises the importance of assisting the vulnerable to get vaccinated.
We subsequently identified three PPR housing areas in Kuala Lumpur to be part of our community outreach programme. About 260 residents from the three PPR got their vaccinations as part of the Covid-19 vaccination programme at UMMC over the past three weeks.
Those who were unable to commute from the PPR to UMMC were transported by bus via a collaboration with Mass Rapid Transportation Corporation Sdn Bhd.
This is a proactive approach to ramp up vaccination, allowing residents from selected PPR to get vaccinated quickly and effectively. We hope that we can continue to lessen the burden faced by the B40 group, who have been severely affected by the Movement Control Order (MCO).
We are delighted to be a part of the government’s efforts to combat Covid-19, and during this pandemic, all stakeholders must come together to assist all those in need. By consolidating our efforts, we will pull through this together.
Hazreen Abdul Majid is a committee member for the Phase Two UMMC vaccination group and head of the Centre for Population Health, University of Malaya.