Private doctors will be involved in the immunisation programme from May on a voluntary basis.

PETALING JAYA: Private doctors are wary of red tape and incurring additional expenditure if they are to get involved in the national Covid-19 immunisation programme, says their trade association.

“On the ground, looking at so many requirements that they find hard to fulfil, as well as the unexpected costs of new equipment, some GPs have backed out,” said Dr Shanmuganthan TV Ganeson, honorary secretary of the Federation of Private Medical Practitioners’ Associations.

However, a large majority of general practitioners were “still willing to give it a try for the greater good despite the trying circumstances”, he said.

The health ministry has said GPs will be involved in Phase 2 of the programme, from April to August, and Phase 3, from May to February 2022, on a voluntary basis.

Another member of the federation, Dr Pearl Leong, said GPs would need to purchase equipment such as medical-grade cold boxes, refrigerators and electronic temperature data loggers.

She said the cold box would cost at least RM450 each or more, the temperature logger at up to RM500 each, and the fridge at RM4,000 or higher.

“There is no allocation for grants or subsidies for these equipment. Some GPs are prepared to pay extra costs, some would rather not. The views on the ground are divided,” she said.

Leong also warned there may be problems with possible wastage of vaccines if patients did not show up for their vaccine appointments.

She said there were already delays in scheduling appointments for vaccine recipients on the MySejahtera mobile app.

Some vaccine recipients might not be aware that their appointments have been scheduled, she said.

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The immunisation programme involving GPs is said to start in May.

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