Covid-19 Vaccination in Malaysia: Responsibilities of Everyone

Updated: Apr 19

The Covid-19 vaccine has been on the rollout for a month now in Malaysia. As of 23 March 2021, Malaysia has administered 481,989 doses of the vaccination. However, many have yet to register for the vaccine and have questions regarding the vaccination process. This article outlines what you need to know about getting vaccinated and the guidelines for everyone.


Who Should Get Vaccinated?

Generally, everyone 18 years of age and above can be vaccinated.

Special priorities are put for those with the following conditions as they are considered high-risk:

  • Diabetes: Type 1 or 2

  • Obesity: BMI >40 with obesity-related diseases

  • Heart disease including congenital heart disease, atrial fibrillation, coronary artery disease and heart failure

  • Chronic kidney disease: Stages 3-5, undergoing dialysis

  • Pregnancy with co-morbidities: Between 14-33 weeks

  • Cancer (treatment completed and disease stable)

  • Hypertension/ High blood pressure

  • Hypercholesterolaemia

  • Lung disease: Asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

However, certain groups of people may face contraindication of the vaccine and should consult their doctors before making an appointment to get vaccinated.

The following groups of people fall under this category:

  • People with severe allergies or anaphylaxis after receiving the first dose of covid-19 vaccine (not to take the second dose)

  • People with severe allergies or anaphylaxis to other vaccines, medications or substances

  • People with blood disorders

  • People with a weakened immune system, including cancer patients undergoing treatment and autoimmune diseases: SLE and rheumatoid arthritis on specialised medication

  • People receiving long-term steroids


Responsibilities of The Citizen

General Public

The Covid-19 vaccination is not compulsory for any citizen. However, the government highly recommends everyone above 18-years old register and get the vaccination. For one, the vaccination will protect against contracting the Covid-19 virus. Also, at least 80% of people residing in Malaysia must be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity.

One can easily register for the vaccine via multiple channels such as the MySejahtera application, the official vaccination website - www.vaksincovid.gov.my, a hotline number: 1800-888-828, at public and private health facilities and through outreach programmes for rural and interior areas.

With the constant usage of the MySejahtera application for many of us, this is the most convenient option. We need only click a few buttons to get registered, starting with the Covid-19 Vaccinnication button on the home page as pictured below.

Source: vaksincovid.gov.my


The government will run the vaccination in three (3) phases as follows:

  • PHASE 1 (February – April 2021) – This phase is for frontliners in public and healthcare services, essential services, defence and security personnel.

  • PHASE 2 (April – August 2021) – This phase will be targeting the remaining frontline workers and senior citizens and high-risk groups with chronic diseases and people with disabilities (OKU).

  • PHASE 3 (May 2021 – February 2022) – This final phase will remain for the adult population aged 18-years old and above.

Employers

At the time of writing, employers have no legal enforcement to ensure that their employees are vaccinated. Even within the healthcare industry, where employees are at high-risk to contract the Covid-19 virus, no specific laws enforce it. There are also no statutory laws that will allow employers to enforce a "vaccinated-only" policy in their workspace.

However, Malaysian employers are obliged to provide a safe workspace to their employees as per Section 1(1) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1994 ("OSHA 1994"). This obligation could arguably be a point for enforcing policies surrounding the administration of Covid-19 Vaccines for employees.

Many considerations will come into play, such as high-risk employees and persons with pre-existing medical conditions that may not allow them to be vaccinated.

At the very least, the employers could set a guide on managing vaccinated vs unvaccinated employees in the same workspace. There will be a series of legalities that will arise in setting these guides; thus, you should contact a lawyer to help negate any issues as an employer.

Foreign Workers

From this point forward, all foreign workers can only enter Malaysia if they have received the Covid-19 vaccine. This enforcement is in line with other vaccinations that are required for workers entering the country.

As for Foreign Immigrants Without Permission (PATI), there is also a requirement for them to get the vaccine. In its final phase of the Covid-19 National Immunisation Programme, PATI will receive one vaccine shot. They will need to come forward to any related Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) or a body such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR) to register for their vaccination.


Summary

Covid-19 has been declared a global pandemic for over a year now. The vaccine roll-out is our beacon of hope for a better future, even while we reel from the effects of the pandemic still.

We look forward to a safer, better time and should you need advice to negate the impacts of Covid-19, do contact any of our lawyers, and we will be happy to be of assistance.



Note: This article does not constitute legal advice to any specific case. The facts and circumstances of each case will differ and, therefore, will require specific legal advice. Feel free to contact us for complimentary legal consultation.


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