16 Julai 2021

'Govt staff should volunteer at PPVs'

16 Julai 2021

KUALA LUMPUR: The Congress of Unions of Employees in the Public and Civil Services (Cuepacs) has called on civil servants from non-essential sectors to volunteer at vaccination centres (PPVs) nationwide to expedite the country's inoculation drive.

Its secretary-general, Abdul Rahman Mohd Nordin, said civil servants aged 45 and below should step forward.

"It should be voluntary. The government should not make it mandatory for civil servants from non-essential sectors to serve at vaccinations centres. Many civil servants have volunteered

"But the government should ensure that volunteers work on a rotation basis.

"For instance, they could be asked to help twice or thrice a week but on alternate days. Otherwise, they might be overwhelmed as they juggle their usual work and the voluntary service."

He said the government should also provide transport allowance to volunteers who were assigned to centres far from their homes.

"They facilitate the registration process of vaccine recipients by collecting and entering their details.

"For example, civil servant volunteers are running the registration counters at the Mines International Exhibition & Convention Centre."

Rahman said the work-from-home (WFH) arrangement for civil servants differed based on the nature of their jobs.

"Those with desk jobs and secretarial roles, such as clerks, accountants and others, are fully working from home. However, those with technical duties have to go to the office."

Rahman also said the government should inoculate the volunteers before allowing them to help at vaccination centres.

He said this was to protect them and prevent outbreaks, such as what had happened recently at the Ideal Convention Centre (IDCC) in Shah Alam.

On Tuesday, the Covid-19 National Immunisation Programme (NIP) Coordinating Minister Khairy Jamaluddin ordered IDCC to close for one day to be sanitised after 204 workers from the centre tested positive for Covid-19.

The Alliance for Safe Community chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said recruiting civil servant volunteers was a "sensible solution" to address the shortage of staff at vaccination centres in the Klang Valley.

"When we rope in more volunteers, we can open up more vaccination centres and consequently, push up our vaccination rate.

"However, the health authorities must brief the volunteers and at least give them a crash course on the standard operating procedures (SOP) at the centres.

"This is crucial because the volunteers may come into contact with asymptomatic patients. They must be equipped with the right knowledge and skills to handle such situations.

"At the moment, the government should not make it mandatory for civil servants from non-essential sectors to serve at vaccination centres. Keep it voluntary.

"If the numbers are not encouraging, heads of department should engage and communicate with their subordinates to persuade them to volunteer."

The country aims to achieve herd immunity by September by inoculating 80 per cent of the population. Up to Wednesday, 12,647,558 doses of vaccine were administered.

Malaysian Relief Agency vice-president Khairil Annuar Khalid urged the government to work with civil societies and non-governmental organisations first to utilise their pool of volunteers.

"Many NGOs have a strong pool of medical and non-medical volunteers who are willing to help the inoculation drive.

"The government has not engaged with us effectively. We do not know how many volunteers they need and what assistance they expect them to provide.

"The government should provide us with a proper schedule so that we can mobilise our volunteers.

"This is important to prevent burnout among them.

"They can assist medical personnel in maintaining records of vaccine recipients and other non-medical tasks."

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