Eight Columbia Asia Hospitals Assigned as Vaccination Centers under Covid-19 National Immunization Programme

August 05, 2021

Selangor, July 14, 2021 – With the number of cases soaring, Malaysia aims to speed up the Covid-19 Vaccination Campaign. Ministry of Health increased the target of 300,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccines per day in July to 400,000 doses per day starting August. This means that the government would need more manpower and resources. To help the ministry achieve this target and the country to achieve herd immunity, Columbia Asia Group has volunteered to take up the role of Vaccination Centers (Pusat Pemberian Vaksin/PPV) under the Covid-19 National Immunization Programme.
Duty to the People
Since the PPV opportunity opened to private hospitals, Columbia Asia has been proactive in registering its hospitals as vaccination centers. This was carried out via applications submitted to ProtectHealth Corporation Sdn Bhd (ProtectHealth), a wholly-owned non-profit subsidiary of ProtectHealth Malaysia, established under the Ministry of Health, Malaysia (MOH).

“Our hospital setup is relatively small compared to other hospitals. Nevertheless, we are determined to fight this pandemic together with the nation by helping the country to speed up the Covid-19 vaccination campaign. Our hospital team designed and constructed viable workflows and organized dedicated rooms and space so we can serve our duty as a PPV,” says Dr Sharonpal Singh, Columbia Asia Regional Emergency Services Coordinator.

Currently, Columbia Asia Group of hospitals is working with MOH through its eight branches that are now functioning as Vaccination Centers, namely Bintulu, Iskandar Puteri, Miri, Setapak, Puchong, Seremban, Taiping and Tebrau. Some 160 on-ground Columbia Asia hospital staff have been assigned to man these urgent vaccination exercises across five states; Selangor, Johor, Negeri Sembilan, Perak, Sarawak; and the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur. The number of vaccines allocated for each volunteering hospital depends on the available resources such as space and manpower. Collectively, the eight Columbia Asia hospitals have a capacity of vaccinating 600 people a day.
Partnership during a Pandemic
In order to expedite the vaccine rollout among corporates, collaborations have been formed. For example, in Bintulu, a vaccination center has been set up among oil and gas employees in Bintulu. Columbia Asia Hospital - Bintulu and Petronas collaborated in setting up an industrial vaccine center at Kidurong Club in Bintulu. This center is to vaccinate some 5,000 employees who are attached to oil and gas companies based in Bintulu. It started operations on July 5 and has kept our hospital staff working tirelessly on both Covid-19 tests as well as vaccinations.

Other than Bintulu, Columbia Asia Hospital – Miri also started their collaboration with a third-party healthcare provider for the purpose of vaccinations. Starting July 8, the hospital joined forces with healthcare company, Qualitas, to vaccinate oil and gas employees at the Petronas Carigali office in Lutong, Miri. Columbia Asia Hospital - Miri was also the first PPV in the Columbia Asia group of hospitals when they rolled out vaccinations on May 25. Then after, the other branches followed suit.

The latest to join this effort is Columbia Asia Hospital – Taiping, thus becoming the eighth Columbia Asia hospital to become a Vaccination Center under the Covid-19 National Immunization Program. This was a huge relief to the Taiping community who previously had only one vaccination center.
All Hands on Deck
The hospitals’ Medical Officers are on site to do pre-vaccination assessment. They also carry out post-vaccination observation with the help of nurses who are more than eager to take on this task for the community. If there should be any worrying side effects within the observation time, the patient will be treated at the hospital. If they develop symptoms after they have gone home and need treatment afterwards, they can choose to go back to the same hospital or go to the nearest medical practise whether it is public or private.

It is encouraged for everyone to do their part by registering with MySejahtera for a Covid-19 vaccination. Once an appointment is made, check the location of the vaccination center. It will state where one is supposed to go and when. The number and list of vaccines are based on allocated slots and prepared by District Health Office (PKD). The list of vaccinees depends on where they live for the convenience of commuting to a PPV.

“We hope the public will not walk in without a MySejahtera appointment or try to make an appointment directly with our hospitals. Our hospitals will contact you prior to your appointment,” says Dr Sharonpal. “We do not procure the vaccines ourselves. Only the Malaysian Government is procuring the vaccines from manufacturers and appointing third party organizations to manage the vaccine distribution. The role of a PPV is entrusted upon us and we shall abide by its rules and regulations,” he explains further.
A Common Objective
“For those who have not registered or not convinced to take the vaccine, we urge you to register because unvaccinated individuals can serve as a reservoir for the virus to mutate. Vaccination provides immunity and has been largely protecting us even against the newer variants. Vaccination also protects us from requiring hospitalization or contracting severe COVID-19,” adds Dr Sharonpal. “Another benefit of vaccination is that it is more economical compared to the cost of quarantine, loss of income, and repeated testing. Vaccination may be our best exit strategy of returning to normalcy, so we are determined to be part of this program, regardless of challenges.”

Apart from the various types of vaccines offered to the public, there is a new vaccine which was announced by the Ministry of Health recently. The said vaccine is a COVID-19 vaccine involving an inactivated new vaccine by Shenzhen Kangtai Biological Products Co., Ltd. based in China. Its Phase III Clinical Trial is being carried out on volunteers. Together with other volunteering hospitals, two of Columbia Asia’s hospitals; Bukit Rimau and Klang are conducting the phase III clinical study to evaluate the efficacy, safety and immunogenicity of the vaccine on a large scale before rolling it out to the public.

To know more about Columbia Asia Covid-19 initiatives, log onto the designated Covid-19 information page, ‘Covid-19 Care Support’ on the Columbia Asia website. On this page you will find an all-in-one information source regarding our services to do with Covid-19 comprising RT-PCR nasal and throat swab tests, Covid-19 facts via doctors’ online interviews and articles, tips and advice on Standard Operating Procedures, new normal initiatives, a complete list of Columbia Asia hospitals with contact details.

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