Although the COVID-19 vaccine is free-of-charge for employees, under PIKAS, participating companies will have to pay RM45 for the programme’s operation cost.
Companies participating in Malaysia’s Program lmunisasi lndustri COVID-19 Kerjasama Awam-Swasta (PIKAS) have volunteered to do so and were not forced, it has been clarified.
Addressing this in a press conference yesterday, cited in a report by Malay Mail, coordinating Minister of the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme (Programme Imunisasi COVID-19 Kebangsaan, or PICK), Khairy Jamaluddin said: “We are not forcing industries to participate but because of my engagements with industry players, they came forward to say that they want to help the government accelerate and also shoulder and support the cause.”
As announced last week, under PIKAS, participating companies have to bear the programme’s operational cost (worth approximately RM45) and must not pass it on to employees.
He repeated that PIKAS isn’t a profit-making initiative for the government and industries are, in fact, “willing and able and happy to assist the government” by absorbing the operational cost of the programme.
“The government is providing the vaccines free-of-charge and the employer or the company bears the operational cost of the vaccination charge by ProtectHealth, a non-profit entity of the Ministry of Health (MOH), and this is not a profit-making exercise,” Minister Khairy said.
As further cited by Malay Mail, with regard to why industries were being charged for the vaccination programme in the first place, Minister Khairy responded:
“The charges that we impose are kept to a minimum, so that it is not burdensome to the industries.
“So, we feel that because it is a voluntary exercise where industries have come forward to say: ‘We want to immunise, vaccinate our workers as quickly as possible, as this is in line with the MOH’s guideline of pandemic control, in light of the fact that many new clusters are workplace clusters.’”
Minister Khairy further noted that the funds received from PIKAS will be use to roll out vaccination programmes for the Malaysian population.
Malaysia may consider easing COVID-19 restrictions for fully-vaccinated individuals
Minister Khairy shared those fully vaccinated will have a yellow mark on their MySejahtera application. This gives them some freedom from social restrictions.
On the topic of vaccination, Minister Khairy shared in a separate update that the government is looking into easing restrictions for individuals who have completed their COVID-19 vaccination regime, including allowing them to travel interstate.
As cited in a Bernama report, shared on the Finance Ministry's page, the minister said a technical committee comprising health and science experts set up under the Special Committee for Ensuring Access to COVID-19 Vaccine Supply’s (Jawatankuasa Khas Jaminan Akses Bekalan Vaksin COVID-19, or JKJAV) is reviewing the matter before it can be presented to the National Security Council (Majlis Keselamatan Negara, or MKN).
He added that the committee would consider vaccine efficacy data obtained from other countries, and study the matter from a clinical aspect to determine if this could be done.
"For example, in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a guideline for fully vaccinated people, such as allowing them to remove their face masks when meeting in a room," Minister Khairy shared.
In the meantime, according to the report, the minister shared individuals who have completed the vaccination will have a yellow profile on their MySejahtera application.
This will act as a “vaccine passport that will allow them certain degree of freedom to do things that were previously not permitted”, the minister was cited as saying.
That said, he reiterated that Malaysians must continue to adhere to the existing standard operating procedures (SOPs), even if they have been fully vaccinated.
"For now, vaccination is not a substitute for the enforcement of SOPs especially in the sectors operating during the Movement Control Order (MCO).
“Vaccination is very important for us to rehabilitate the country but existing SOPs such as physical distancing, wearing face masks and others must continue to be emphasised and enforced."