Vaccination programme will run until year-end

Malaysia will have enough supplies to hit the 80% population target before the end of the year

by HARIZAH KAMEL / pic by RAZAK GHAZALI

MALAYSIA’S vaccination programme will run until the end of the year, according to Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar (picture), amid complaints on the rate of vaccination rollout.

“Based on delivery schedules we have received from our suppliers, we will start getting a steady and ample supply of vaccines from June onwards.

“This is when I project mass vaccinations to be in full swing. For now, demand outstrips supply,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Based on the data by the Covid-19 Vaccine Supply Access Guarantee Special Committee (JKJAV) on the vaccine supply and demand status as of Monday, Khairy said Malaysia will have enough supplies to ensure the nation hits the 80% population target before the end of the year.

The minister said this is “according to the current portfolio and plan we announced in February”.

“So, while I know everyone is anxious about getting their Covid-19 vaccination, I would also like to manage expectations with the reality of vaccine availability.

“I will continue to push for more vaccine supplies to arrive quicker. In the meantime, please maintain our standard operating procedures, and in the coming months, you will get a notification in the MySejahtera app or via SMS informing you of your vaccination appointment,” he said.

There have been concerns expressed on the Covid-19 vaccinations in the country with people wondering why the rate of vaccination seems slow as some have registered since February to get their appointments.

Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia president Datuk Dr Kuljit Singh reportedly said that private hospitals should be allowed to procure its own vaccines to strengthen the vaccination programme.

“However, we are of the opinion that vaccination programme will further strengthen when private hospitals are able to procure their own vaccines for the economic frontliners and public who require early vaccination for specific reasons,” Dr Kuljit said in a statement.

Referring to JKJAV’s data, it shows that vaccine supplies are still low. Khairy said one of the biggest reasons for low vaccine supplies in Malaysia and other middle-income countries is that rich countries have cornered the Covid-19 vaccine market.

“Some rich countries have bought enough vaccines for their citizens three to five times over. Many pharmaceutical companies give preference to rich countries for obvious reasons,” the minister said.

“That is also why Malaysia has had to balance our Covid-19 vaccine portfolio to include not only Pfizer Inc, AstraZeneca plc, but also those from non-Western countries like Sinovac Life Sciences Co Ltd from China,” he explained.

Authorities are now concluding Phase 1 involving medical and non-medical frontliners and will commence Phase 2 involving people above 60 years of age and those with chronic illnesses next week.

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