Covid-19 vaccine prioritization must base on science, not nationality.

Press statement by Labour Law Reform Coalition on 17 Feb 2021 in Shah Alam

Labour Law Reform Coalition (LLRC) applauds the statement of Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin that all foreigners living in Malaysia will receive Covid-19 vaccination for free. Building a herd immunity is vital to break the chain of viruses.

We concur that immunization strategy must prioritize people categorized as high-risk groups, such as front liners, security personnel, elders and patients with chronic diseases.

Similarly, local or migrant workers having higher risk exposed to Covid-19 due to space constraints of production facilities or crowded accommodation must be given higher priority than those working from home.

Many trade unions have migrant worker members, unions are equally concerned about safety and health of their members, regardless local or migrant members.

Workplace infection is now a serious concern. The Ministry of Health reported yesterday that 10 out of 13 new clusters were workplace clusters.

It’s important to use scientific disease control methods to roll out the immunization programme and prevent workplace infection. Our healthcare system must be able to quickly identify the high-risk groups and nip the coronavirus in the bud.

We beg to differ with the proposal of “Malaysian first, foreigners last” of a certain quarter. Such an unscientific method is not helping in elimination of the novel Covid-19. Priority in allocation of the vaccine should be based on need rather than citizenship.

Ignoring high risk groups will lead to more community infection and eventually cause harm to Malaysians. No one is safe until everyone is safe. Let’s build solidarity and embrace science governance in the fight against Covid-19.

N. Gopalkishnam and Irene Xavier
Labour Law Reform Coalition