More data, convincing needed to get people to sign up for Covid-19 vaccine

It has been almost two months since the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme started.

As of April 14, a total of 8.4 million people have registered to be vaccinated. The numbers, however, are still low compared to the government’s plan of getting 27 million people in the country vaccinated to achieve herd immunity.

In her column in Malay news website Getaran this week, Twentytwo13 managing editor Pearl Lee asked why people aren’t eager to get the free vaccination.

In the column, Pearl shares her conversations with several people regarding the matter.

A pharmacist said he would prefer if he can choose the vaccine. A foreigner said she did not know she was required to register. A senior citizen related he did not feel the need to get vaccinated as he was mostly indoors while a lawyer said he was still not convinced as there were concerns over certain vaccine brands.

Pearl said although people had their own reasons for not signing up, the authorities must admit not enough information is being disseminated to ensure people get accurate data regarding the vaccination plan.

The presumption that the illiterate or those living in rural areas will be late in registering is not accurate. Even the educated, urban people with access to news and the Internet are not signing up.

Earlier this week, Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the government has sent out 31,776 vaccination appointments under phase two of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme but 57 per cent did not respond.

This data should not be viewed lightly.

Information relayed to the people must be data-driven, easy to understand and disseminated using the correct platform.

In essence, the main message should just be: It’s safe. It works. It protects. It’s free.

Explain why it is safe. Convince the public that the benefits outweigh the risks.

Getting people to register for the Covid-19 vaccine is not the same as getting people to register to vote. The approach is not the same.

To read the column, visit Getaran.my.