KUCHING (Feb 23): The federal and state governments must ramp up efforts to educate the public and instill their confidence in the Covid-19 vaccine to ensure the success of a vaccination programme, said Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii.
“This is in order to address vaccine hesitancy and even misinformation regarding the vaccine, especially if we want to increase public confidence and acceptance to achieve our target of 70 to 80 per cent for herd immunity nationwide as fast as possible,” he said in a statement.
Although the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine has arrived in the country, Dr Yii said the real work lies in innoculating the people as well as educating the public on the government’s response towards this health crisis.
“The rakyat should be kept well informed of the efficacy, safety, high quality and permissibility of the vaccines. This would help to improve vaccine confidence and acceptance, especially among the vaccine hesitant individuals,” he said.
Dr Yii said it was understandable that certain quarters of the public had raised their concerns over the vaccine and thus, more material based on data and science regarding the vaccination campaign should be made easily accessible to the public.
He added the government should identify communities and groups that were exposed to higher Covid-19 risks and translate the necessary vaccination programme information into local languages.
Community leaders like village chiefs ‘tuai rumah’, Kapitan, Village Security and Development Committee (JKKK) and leaders of Rukun Tetangga could be roped in to create awareness regarding vaccination to the community, he adds.
“We all play a role to be ‘information frontliners’, especially to get the right message backed by science and data out to the community. We must remember that if not all of us is protected, none of us will be protected,” said Dr Yii.