PORT KLANG: More than 50,000 members of the transport industry will be vaccinated against Covid-19 as part of the government’s transport sector vaccination program, which started with the shipping industry here yesterday.
Transport Minister Datuk Seri, Dr Wee Ka Siong, who visited the vaccination center for sailors and port workers of the Port Klang Authority Sports and Recreation Club here with the coordinating minister of the National Covid-19 Vaccination Program , Khairy Jamaluddin, said the exercise was timely and essential.
“Seafarers, who are the backbone of the maritime sector, should be given priority as the movement of goods and supplies for the country depends on a sustainable maritime and port sector,” Dr Wee said during a press conference after his visit.
The launch of the vaccination program for the maritime sector took place yesterday in conjunction with Seafarers’ Day, which falls on June 25.
Based on the capacity of the site, 10,000 workers in the maritime industry should be vaccinated over a period of 10 days.
Dr Wee pointed out that this was the second sector to be vaccinated after the manufacturing sector program recently launched by Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Azmin Ali and Khairy.
âWhile manufacturing is an essential service, the transportation sector is something we cannot leave out.
âSince the first movement control order last year, our ports have never been closed, our public transport has never taken a rest and the same goes for airports. Even though the flights declined, they (the airports) were open 24 hours a day, ” Dr Wee said.
This is indicative, he added, of the importance of the transport sector and the attention it must give it.
As such, Dr Wee said his ministry launched the exercise in collaboration with the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation as well as the Ministry of Health.
âThe Ministry of Transport received approval from the Covid-19 Vaccination Working Group (CITF) on June 21 to implement the vaccination program for more than 51,500 people on the front lines of the transport sector, namely seafarers, port workers, airport personnel and those on land and on land. rail transport services, âhe said.
The transport companies involved in the program will collectively set up the vaccination centers while the vaccine supply will be provided free of charge by the government, he added.
Regarding the vaccination exercise for maritime industry workers, Dr Wee said the Port Klang authority would oversee port workers while seafarers would be supervised by the Central Mercantile Marine Fund by the intermediary of the Ministry of the Navy of Malaysia.
“This vaccination exercise will benefit 18,596 or 53% of supervisors and port agents in the central region who are eligible to be vaccinated in this first phase,” he noted.
Vaccination centers will also be open to maritime industry workers at ports in Penang, Kuantan, Johor, Sabah and Sarawak.
There are 59,155 supervisors and port workers in the country.
According to Dr Wee, the vaccination of workers in the aviation sector will be carried out on July 5, while workers in the land transport sector are also expected to be vaccinated soon.
He said the vaccination exercise for aviation workers would include 22,243 airport workers, airline staff and cargo workers, including air traffic controllers.
âFor the land transport sector involving public land transport, a few PPVs will also be opened in several locations across the country to ensure that 19,259 railroad workers and bus drivers are soon vaccinated,â Dr Wee said.
He added that the Ministry of Transport and CITF are also coordinating the vaccination program of around 355,064 taxi and e-hailing drivers, as well as bus and p-haling drivers.
“This program will be implemented under the public PPV and the government will bear the full costs,” he said.
He added that the number of taxi, e-hailing and bus drivers as well as p-haling drivers outnumbered other personnel in the land transport sector and required a multi-pronged approach. for vaccination.
Dr Wee also clarified that the eligibility of beneficiaries in the transport sector is determined by the Ministry of Health and takes into consideration various factors, including pregnancy or other medical conditions.