Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Free Covid-19 vaccines for all, including foreigners, says Putrajaya

This is part of its humanitarian responsibility as well as to ensure herd immunity, government says.

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Putrajaya has decided to extend its free Covid-19 vaccination to all non-citizens in the country, saying it is part of the government’s humanitarian responsibility as well as to ensure herd immunity.

It said the vaccine supply secured by the government is also more than enough for Malaysians.

However, it said priority will be given to Malaysians when the mass vaccination programme begins at the end of this month.

“This is also in line with the government’s stand to vaccinate as many people in Malaysia to achieve herd immunity in efforts to stop the Covid-19 pandemic,” said a statement by the Special Committee on Covid-19 Vaccine Supply Access Guarantee, jointly chaired by Health Minister Dr Adham Baba and Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.

Malaysia has so far secured Covid-19 vaccine supplies from five companies at a total price of over RM2 billion, enough to inoculate more than 80% of the population and achieve herd immunity.

The Pfizer vaccines will be the first to arrive in Malaysia at the end of the month, despite the recent controversial export curbs by the European Union on vaccines produced in the bloc.

This will be followed by vaccines under the Covax facility (March) and from AstraZeneca (April).

Three other vaccines will come from Sinovac and CanSino (China) and Gamaleya (Russia), totalling 23.9 million doses under various regiments.

Putrajaya’s joint vaccination committee meanwhile noted that a huge number of Covid-19 infections are from migrant workers in the plantation, construction and manufacturing sectors.

It said these workers have become part of the local community and have contributed to the nation’s economy.

It said the government has been burdened by the huge cost of containing the pandemic among the migrant population including for quarantine and treatment measures.

Putrajaya said its decision to extend free vaccination to non-Malaysians residing in the country was also inspired by the move by other countries to include Malaysian nationals in their inoculation programmes.

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