Malaysia strives for a higher Covid-19 jab rate

There are six states whose proportion of adult population receiving their second dose is still below 50 per cent. PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Adult vaccination rates will be accelerated to at least 50 per cent in six Malaysian states within a month's time at the latest, said Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

He said although a number of states have made great progress in inoculating their population, there are still six states whose proportion of adult population receiving their second dose is still below 50 per cent.

They are Perak (46.5 per cent), Terengganu (46.2 per cent), Johor (44.9 per cent), Kedah (43.2 per cent), Kelantan (43.1 per cent) and Sabah (37.1 per cent).

Datuk Seri Ismail said these six states have been targeted to have 50 per cent of their adult population to be fully vaccinated by the end of September at the very latest.

He said the Health Ministry and Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry have been given until the end of September to ensure that the vaccination rate of the adult population of the six states reach 50 per cent.

"I have spoken to the secretaries-general of both ministries that we must focus our attention on these six states," he said at a press conference at the World Trade Centre (WTC) on Sunday (Aug 29).

Mr Ismail said if there were delays with vaccine deliveries, the authorities will use whichever vaccine stocks are available.

"We don't want to have any delay just because we are waiting for vaccines, which will end up victimising Malaysians. If there are problems with deliveries, we don't have to wait, we will concentrate on vaccines that are at hand.

"For example, Pharmaniaga is doing the bottling process for Sinovac and they are on standby with their vaccines in the factory. We cannot wait, those unvaccinated must be vaccinated," he said.

Vaccine shortages have been reported in the states of Sabah, Penang, Johor and Negeri Sembilan, although the authorities have not made clear the reasons behind such incidents.

Mr Ismail also said that with 89.5 per cent of the adult population in the Klang Valley vaccinated, he will discuss with the Cabinet whether this area can transition to the next phase of the National Recovery Plan.

However, besides getting vaccinated, he urged the people to continue following the Covid-19 health protocols.

The Prime Minister was at the WTC to witness the one millionth vaccine dose administered at the mega vaccination centre (PPV) there.

The WTC is the first PPV to have administered that amount of Covid-19 vaccines.

The vaccine recipient, Mr Zamratulazmi Sarmadi, had his second dose personally administered by deputy Health director-general, Dr Hishamshah Ibrahim.

The 38-year-old photographer said he had a shock when he was told he would be receiving his second dose in the presence of the Prime Minister and other top government officials.

"I just received a phone call to come earlier for my appointment. No one mentioned anything about me being the recipient of the one millionth dose. They only told me when I arrived at Station 2 of the vaccination centre," he said.

The WTC has been operating as a mega vaccination centre since May 5.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.