TANGKAK (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The Malaysian government is planning to buy more Covid-19 vaccine to cover the immunisation needs of about 60 to 70 per cent of Malaysians compared with the 30 per cent coverage currently, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said on Sunday (Dec 13).
He said Malaysia would be able to buy more as some nations had bought doses of the vaccine exceeding their population.
"As for Malaysia, we have already got 30 per cent. I have instructed Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba and Khairy Jamaluddin to negotiate and increase it from 30 per cent to 60 or 70 per cent," Tan Sri Muhyiddin said, referrring to the vaccine.
Mr Khairy is the Science, Technology and Innovation Minister.
"So far, this has been the advice of the Health Ministry... If it can be increased to that number, then more people will be protected from the coronavirus," the Prime Minister said in a speech in Tangkak town, in his Gambir state constituency in Johor. He was attending a Deepavali celebration.
Mr Muhyiddin said suppliers have also been asked to expedite delivery of the vaccine, which is scheduled to arrive in March.
In late November, he said the government had started rolling out a RM3 billion (S$1 billion) plan to gain enough Covid-19 vaccines to immunise 6.4 million people in Malaysia as soon the vaccine has been proven safe enough to be used.
The first batch of vaccines is expected to be available early next year. Malaysia has a population of 32 million people.
Meanwhile, PM Muhyiddin also ordered all temporary hospitals for Covid-19 to reopen due to continued spikes in cases within several states such as Selangor, the federal territories, Negeri Sembilan and Johor.
Mr Muhyiddin said even though the government's steps were effective compared with other countries, Malaysia has yet to overcome the pandemic.
"As long as the people are being threatened by Covid-19, I will not take a rest, and work to manage the pandemic and the country's economy, " he added.