Sunday, 20 Jun 2021

Malaysia to speed up Covid-19 vaccinations as more shipments expected

KUALA LUMPUR – Seeking to reassure Malaysians amid rising Covid-19 cases, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin on Saturday (June 5) pledged to ramp up vaccinations, as 16 million doses of the vaccine are expected to arrive in the next two months, and 300 more vaccine centres will open nationwide.

Malaysia’s vaccination rate is among the highest in South-east Asia, with more than three million doses administered so far, said the Premier in a special address broadcast on Facebook to mark 100 days since the vaccination drive began in February.

“Today, Malaysia’s first-dose vaccination rate is among the highest in South-east Asia. This achievement is not an easy feat because the supply of vaccines is beyond our control. Malaysia needs to compete with other countries and rely on vaccine manufacturers for supplies,” Tan Sri Muhyiddin said.

About 7.2 per cent of Malaysia’s population has received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

In Indonesia, some 6.43 per cent of the population has received at least one dose, while in Thailand, the figure is 3.8 per cent.

Over a third of Singapore’s population of 5.7 million has received at least the first dose as of May 31.

The Premier’s comments come as Malaysia recorded 86 more deaths from Covid-19 on Friday, bringing the total to 3,182.

Mr Muhyiddin assured the people that the rate of vaccination will be stepped up.

“In the next two months, we will receive around 16 million Covid-19 vaccine doses. With the increase in vaccine supply, the government is targeting daily vaccinations to reach 150,000 this month and the figure will continue to rise,” he said.

Three hundred more vaccine centres will open “as soon as possible” to add to the 280 presently operating, and by the end of June, 1,000 private clinics will be authorised to administer the vaccine, he added.

Nine states will also deploy mobile vaccination units.

There have been complaints that many have yet to receive their vaccination appointments, long queues and lack of physical distancing at vaccination centres, under-dosing of vaccines, and errors in appointment details.

The government is also considering a proposal to allow for automatic registration.

Currently, those who wish to be vaccinated have to sign up to get an appointment.

Nearly 13 million people have registered so far.

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Mr Muhyiddin remains optimistic that the country will meet the target of having 80 per cent of the 32 million population inoculated before the end of this year.

As part of efforts to control infection numbers, Kuala Lumpur kicked off a free mass Covid-19 screening exercise on Saturday for residents of densely populated public housing apartments in the capital, which will conduct between 300 and 500 tests a day.

Malaysia, which has been battling a resurgent outbreak that has threatened to overwhelm its healthcare system in past weeks, recorded 7,452 cases on Saturday, down from 7,748 on Friday.

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