Give GP clinics priority to get vaccine supply: MMA

KUALA LUMPUR (BERNAMA) – The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) has asked for general practitioners (GPs) to be given priority in getting vaccine supplies, saying they are the first point of contact and are close to the community.

MMA President Dr N Ganabaskaran said GPs were usually the last medical practitioners to receive vaccine supplies from the main suppliers.

“There is an acute shortage of flu vaccine supplies from the main suppliers and many GPs have called MMA to report this problem.

“Talk on this is also currently trending on social media platforms with GPs voicing their displeasure about the supply problem with allegations that importance is given to the private hospitals while the fragmented but well-distributed GP clinics are being sidelined,” he said in a statement yesterday. He said each time there is a vaccine shortage, the GPs are the last to receive supply if there are any stocks.

“Normally, priority for the vaccine is given to public hospitals, followed by private hospitals, while the left overs to the 7,000 well-distributed general practitioners that have faster and more convenient access for the rakyat,” he said. He said it was estimated that GP visits annually stand at 70 million and almost 80 per cent of GP patients are repeat or regular patients and the majority are families.

“MMA hopes the suppliers will play a proactive role whenever there is an increase in certain illnesses that can be prevented by primary care practitioners. The needs of patients must come first. Convenience in access to healthcare will increase efficiency and ultimately, the standard of healthcare delivery in the country,” he added.

File photo shows a member of the public geting vaccine shot by a medical practioner. PHOTO: BERNAMA