Nearly 300,000 people in Malaysia vaccinated, and more vaccine doses on the way

Malaysia hopes to achieve herd immunity against Covid-19 by February next year.
Malaysia hopes to achieve herd immunity against Covid-19 by February next year.PHOTO: REUTERS

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysia is set to receive an additional one million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine by the end of this month, said Coordinating Minister for Covid-19 Immunisation Khairy Jamaluddin on Monday (March 15).

Pfizer has meanwhile sent an additional 83,070 vaccine doses on Monday, and will send another 124,020 doses on March 22, and 125,190 doses on March 29.

Mr Khairy said the country has also received 100,000 doses from Sinovac on Monday.

These deliveries come as Malaysia is accelerating its Covid-19 Immunisation Programme that started on Feb 24.

He also gave a breakdown on the 292,104 people who have been vaccinated as of Saturday (March 13) , amid earlier complaints that aides of senior government officials were trying to jump the vaccination queue.

So far only 0.11 per cent of the vaccine recipients, or 302 people, are government officials and elected representatives, said Mr Khairy, the Minister of Science, Technology & Innovation.

"Based on the breakdown of the 292,104 people who have been vaccinated as of March 13, they comprise 23.86 per cent nurses, 22.23 per cent doctors and 23.4 per cent other healthcare workers such as medical assistants, X-ray specialists and ambulance drivers.

"Another 21.33 per cent are front-line workers from the armed forces, police, civil defence force, Rela (volunteer corps) and Customs officers, among others."

Malaysia hopes to achieve herd immunity against Covid-19 once it has inoculated 80 per cent of its 32 million population by February next year.

The first phase, targeting some 500,000 front-liners, runs until next month.

The second phase will begin next month - for senior citizens and individuals with certain illnesses.

Vaccines will be made available to the general population in May.

Mr Khairy noted that Malaysia has so far procured the Pfizer-BioNTech, Sinovac and AstraZeneca vaccines, adding that other vaccines such as Sputnik V and CanSino have not received regulatory approval yet.

He also said it was better to have a stockpile of vaccines as there was a possibility that booster shots might need to be given next year if the Covid-19 pandemic was still raging.

"We might also see the need of the vaccines to be given to children as Pfizer and AstraZeneca are currently conducting clinical trials on those aged 12 to 16 years old. If this is approved, then we need to have additional stock to be given to children who are now not listed as recipients of the vaccine," he said.