Give us the vaccination appointment date and time when we register for the vaccine instead of waiting with uncertainty

With the cry from Minister Khairy Jamalludin that the vaccine registration numbers are too low, the government should change the registration system. Increasing certainty and choice upon registration will increase the registration rate and people who are currently in queue will also know how long they are waiting for. Instead of the current system where one merely registers their interest to receive the vaccination, people should be informed of the available vaccine centers near them, and be allowed to book their vaccination slot (date, time and place).

Khairy also said that those who register for the vaccines will be notified of their vaccine appointment 14 days before the appointment, and that we can accept or decline the proposed date and time for vaccination. While we can assume the government will use automated technology (push notification) for the MySejahtera app users, many Malaysians have registered for the vaccine on the website or manually. These people need to be notified manually under Khairy’s plan of action. When people decline, they will have to be manually contacted again with a different date and time. Allowing people to pick their time slots simply eliminates this circumstance.

The task of manually informing thousands of people a day will be a massive strain on resources, especially as these are residents who are senior citizens, and are unlikely to have decent access to text messaging and will require manual phone calls. What about those who do not respond to the sms or phone calls, will they be dropped from the vaccination list?

In fact, the Ministry of Health already has in place such an appointment system (sans the penalty) when it comes to making appointments to see a doctor or to collect medicine in our local Klinik Kesihatan as well as several private clinics via qmed.asia/booking. MoH already has available resources in place to amend the registration system.

Currently, we are only in Phase 1 and yet, there are a lot of unnecessary human resources being used to give vaccination appointments. When I got vaccinated recently, a doctor contacted me to inform me of my appointment which is a waste of human resources and is an inefficient way to manage talent.

Threatening the general public with action for failure to attend the vaccination appointment is serving more as a deterrent than encouragement to register, especially when under the Emergency Ordinance, these fines can go up to RM10,000. If the government is really serious about achieving it’s 70% target on schedule, then changes must be made to the current registration process.

We have the potential to improve the registration rate for the vaccination, make life easier for our medical frontliners and the public at large if we implement this one simple technical improvement in the registration process. I call upon Jawatankuasa Khas Jaminan Akses Bekalan Vaksin COVID-19 (JKJAV) to improve this registration process as soon as possible.

Rajiv Rishyakaran
SA FOR BUKIT GASING
Media statement by Rajiv Rishyakaran in Petaling Jaya on Wednesday, 7th April 2021