Thursday, July 29, 2021

No turning mosque prayer halls into vaccination areas, says deputy minister

Deputy Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Ahmad Amzad Hashim says PPVs can only be opened at mosques if the necessary facilities are available there.

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Prayer halls in mosques cannot be used as Covid-19 vaccine dispensing areas, Deputy Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Ahmad Amzad Hashim said today.

He said any vaccination centre (PPV) opened on mosque compounds should be in accordance with the SOPs set by the National Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF).

“The SOPs, among others, disallow prayer halls in mosques to be used as vaccine dispensing areas.

“A PPV can be opened at a mosque only if it has the facilities suitable for the purpose, such a lecture hall, a library or even its own clinic.

“If not, it shouldn’t be allowed to operate as a PPV,” he said in a statement today.

Amzad, who is Kuala Terengganu MP, said the issue of mosque PPVs arose after certain states launched their own vaccination outreach programmes in mosques without referring to the SOPs set by the CITF.

“Pictures of prayer halls in mosques being used as vaccination areas have been widely circulated. In fact, there were also pictures of other areas in the mosques being used as a waiting area with chairs.

“I have contacted the state health councillors to take the necessary measures to avoid negative public perceptions of this noble effort,” he said.

However, he said using prayer halls because there was no other empty space in the mosque area was an unacceptable excuse.

“We don’t ask for all mosques to be turned into PPVs. We have many other places that can be used for that purpose such as community halls and health clinics,” he said, adding that instructions have been given to ensure that such incidents do not recur.

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