• Sat. Oct 29th, 2022

The government should consider providing Covid-19 vaccination for medical students in clinical training.

May 18, 2021

LETTER I would like to address this letter to the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) to seriously consider the safety of the medical students (in their clinical years) who are learning and working along with their clinical lecturers in the hospitals. 
They are the only ones not vaccinated for Covid-19 in the clinical setting. They are at high risk of getting infected by their patients or transmitting Covid-19 to their patients.
These students should be regarded as part of the medical team; they are performing history-taking, physical examinations and assisting in procedures in the clinics and wards all of which form part of their education. 
Medical schools/faculties from the United States, United Kingdom, Hong Kong, and Singapore to the Philippines have included their medical students in their vaccination plans together with their frontliners. 
Medical students who are not vaccinated and performing bedside learning in the wards are at high risk of contracting and passing on the disease to the already vulnerable patients. They may be living with constant fear and anxiety of contracting Covid-19.
With the current Covid-19 situation in Malaysia, these medical students are in dire need of Covid-19 vaccination. 
As the second part of the AstraZeneca vaccine opt-in is starting again on May 23, I would like to appeal to the Ministry of Higher Education to work with the Ministry of Science, Technology & Innovation (Mosti) in securing the AstraZeneca vaccines for medical students, at least those in their clinical (final) year. 
If they were to wait for their turn in the National Immunisation Programme, they will be the last to be provided with the vaccines.
These medical students should not be a source of transmission to the vulnerable patients that they come into contact with during their clinical training. 
The safety of medical students should be looked after to safeguard the future of our healthcare professionals. 
We hope the Ministry of Higher Education and Mosti can work hand-in-hand to protect the health of these medical students and patients that they come in contact with.
The writer is attached to the Centre of Epidemiology & Evidence-Based Practice, Department of Social & Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Malaya.
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