Phase 2 vaccination to add haj pilgrims, private sector if enough supply

Govt looking to bump up other groups with significant urgency in the country’s list of vaccine recipients

by SHAHEERA AZNAM SHAH / pic by BLOOMBERG

THE Phase 2 of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (NCIP), which targets the elderly, individuals with comorbidity and disabled groups, is expected to begin on April 19.

Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar said these individuals will start receiving notifications of their vaccination appointment starting April 5.

“They will receive notifications through the MySejahtera app, phone calls and text messages roughly two weeks before their appointments.

“We will receive further details and information on the delivery of batches for Phase 2 next week and by then, we can set up the key performance indicator of how many doses could we rolled out in a day,” he told reporters yesterday on the progress of the NCIP.

For the Phase 2, Khairy said about 22% of the nine million individuals who are expected to be vaccinated under the national programme have registered as of March 28.

“For vaccine registration, we are seeing a stable increase every day. For Phase 2, two million out of the nine million that we are targeting have registered and I believe the numbers will increase,” he said.

While waiting for the remaining seven million individuals to be registered, the government is looking to bump up other groups with significant urgency in the country’s list of vaccine recipients.

Khairy said one other group which will be prioritised is the haj pilgrims, who are currently waiting for Lembaga Tabung Haji’s (TH) greenlight to prepare for this year’s pilgrimage.

“The sub-committee under the Covid-19 Vaccine Supply Access Guarantee Special Committee (JKJAV) who have been tasked to assess appeals from specific sectors recommends approving TH’s request to prioritise vaccinating haj pilgrims as per Saudi Arabia’s requirement.

“If the Saudi government makes it mandatory for pilgrims to be immunised for the Covid-19 in addition to the Meningococcal Quadrivalent, then it is the government’s responsibility to provide the vaccines,” he said.

He added that due to the pandemic, JKJAV expects a lower number of Malaysian pilgrims and that Malaysia will have the spare capacity to cater to the additional group in Phase 2.

“However, we have not received any official notification from Saudi Arabia on such requirements, but once we do, JKJAV will cooperate with TH on managing the process for the pilgrims,” he added.

In addition to the haj pilgrims, the government is also looking at prioritising a group involving workers from business operations that are located in red zones.

“There have been several discussions with key industries and when we have enough spare capacity, we will enter into agreements with these businesses, especially those who are in the red zones.

“The agreements will focus on industries or the ‘economic frontliners’ with more than 5,000 employees,” he said.

On NCIP, Khairy said the government has identified about 150,000 additional frontliners to be included in Phase 1, totalling the numbers of medical practitioners who will be vaccinated to 647,398.

Phase 1 is expected to be completed in the next two weeks as at least 90% of the recipients in the category have received their first dose.

As of March 28, 7.24 million Malaysians have registered for the immunisation programme or about 29.83% of the targeted population.

National data also shows that 129,110 individuals have completed the process, while 451,655 are awaiting their second dose.


Read our previous report here

Khairy: Low vaccine registration due to ‘wait-and-see’ approach