By Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye
The good news is that we are on track to reach herd immunity with the stepping of the National Immunisation Programme (NIP) to achieve 200,000 vaccinations a day from next month if the Covid-19 vaccine supplies come in time and uninterrupted. Currently, we are vaccinating about 150,000 people a day.
According to the authorities, when we reach and maintain that target, we should have herd immunity by the end of the year.
But there is one caveat. There must not be any glitches along the way.
To ensure that there are no hiccups, three things are vitally needed.
First, there must be security of supply. The targeted orders must exceed the projected demand, to cater for any future eventuality.
Second, there must be enough centres and facilities to vaccinate more than 200,000 per day since currently, the demand seems to be exceeding the supply, and
Third, the vaccination process must be made as simple and as convenient as possible, especially for the benefit of the elderly and the infirm for whom finding transport, or coping with red tape can be a problem. Moreover many of them are not internet savvy.
This is important because there have been quite a number of cases of the elderly being asked to go to vaccination centres in places far away from their homes. Immunisations must be decentralized with the support of the community and where possible vaccines should be brought to them through mobile units.
But these measures are not enough to flatten the curve. While they will speed up the vaccination process and hasten our race to achieve herd immunity, we must not be complacent.
We still have to strictly follow all the SOPs diligently and be seen to be doing so.
And the attendant measures that are introduced from time to time must be strictly followed.
For this to be effective, it is important to avoid any flip-flops in the introduction and enforcement of SOPs. We must be consistent.
Of late there has been much public outcry over allegations of double standards being practiced or of pandering to sectoral interests.
Questions have been raised as to why several factories and shops are allowed to be opened when there is a lockdown? By definition, a lockdown means there is a restriction of movement or activity applied equally to all, with the exception of essential services.
And essential services must be clearly defined.
There are also other perplexities. For instance, why is there a restriction on the goods that one can buy from a supermarket? A case in point is the availability of some items that are not considered essential.. Why can’t patrons buy beer or other non-essential items for their private consumption at home?
Who decides and how is it decided what is essential and what is not?
Every SOP and rule must be based on sound reasoning and not left to interpretation by law enforcers.
TAN SRI LEE LAM THYE
ALLIANCE FOR SAFE COMMUNITY.