THE nation’s Covid-19 vaccination programme should prioritise journalists soonest as the media fraternity is also deemed front liners.
“We will not jump the queue but we, too, should be given priority,” National Press Club Malaysia president Datuk Ahirudin Attan said.
He urged the government to engage professional bodies and unions that represent journalists so that the Covid-19 vaccinations for the fraternity can run smoothly.
“It’s imperative for Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin to do so as journalists are also front liners.
“Khairy has been great and transparent over the immunisation exercises but I do hope he talks to us or even the NUJ (National Union of Journalist) to make things easier.
“The government has already categorised media members as front liners as the press has played a role to flatten the curve,” he told the media at the Pop Meals restaurant chain’s outlet in D’Pulze Shopping Centre in Cyberjaya.
The event saw the announcement of the collaboration between Pop Meals and the NPC to infuse the latter’s Journalist Welfare Fund (JWF).
Currently in its first phase of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (NCIP), 500,000 front liners, comprising mainly public and private healthcare workers along with defence and security personnel will receive their vaccines during this phase.
At present, journalists are among those expected to be vaccinated in the second phase of the NCIP, which is expected to run from April to August.
Besides them, almost nine million individuals from essential services, as well as remaining healthcare workers, senior citizens over the age of 60 and other high-risk groups, will also be vaccinated.
In a related development, journalists in Sarawak and Labuan were among front liners who received their vaccinations recently.
The Covid-19 Vaccine Supply Access Guarantee Special Committee is scheduled to meet later this week to study the requests of the media fraternity.
At the event on Tuesday, Pop Meals donated RM5,000 to the JWF to help media members affected by the pandemic.
Its communications manager Nurul Jamaludin said through the initiative, the company wishes to acknowledge the contributions of journalists who are continuing to perform their duties to provide credible coverage despite heightened risks.
“We will also generate 1,000 unique Pop Meals promo codes for the NPC to distribute to its members and well-wishers.
“For consumers, you can enjoy any Pop Meals dish using the promo code and get a metal cutlery set delivered to you for free,” Nurul was quoted over The Vibes portal.
So far, the NPC has disbursed RM168,500 to 138 members and media personnel in the form of medical support and cash assistance for veteran and retired journalists, as well as their next of kin.
Those who wish to obtain the Pop Meals promo code can contact the NPC via WhatsApp at (+60)19-245 8073.
Those wishing to donate to JWF can do so through bank transfer to The National Press Club Malaysia (1992) Ambank Islamic account number: 023-202200219-3, stating it is for the JWF.