The second phase of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme will start on April 17 instead of April 19 as previously announced, says Health Minister Dr Adham Baba.
He said the registration campaign needs to be intensified as people aged 60 and above and individuals with comorbidities make up only 30% of the seven million people who have registered through the MySejahtera application.
“We need to intensify the campaign to increase vaccination registration through five methods, namely through MySejahtera or the health ministry website, contacting the hotline, going to district health centres and through NGO outreach programmes that also focus on the homeless and illegal immigrants,” he said.
The government is targeting 9.4 million recipients in the second phase which will involve high-risk groups including the elderly, those with chronic diseases, people with disabilities and those with comorbidities.
Adham said the vaccination exercise would continue during the fasting month and that night appointments at certain vaccination centres (PPVs) would be offered as well.
Asked about the ban on vaccine exports in several countries to meet domestic demand following an increase in Covid-19 infections and lack of supply, Adham said it would not affect the ongoing immunisation programme in Malaysia as suppliers had given their commitment to the government that deliveries would be on schedule.
For example, he said Malaysia would procure the AstraZeneca vaccine from factories in Thailand through direct procurement, while the supply of AstraZeneca vaccine through the Covax facility would come from South Korea.
“These things are all guaranteed. So the issue of delays in the supply of vaccines from suppliers does not arise for Malaysia. We can execute all schedules and deliveries within the stipulated time, but we hope deliveries can be expedited if possible,” he said.
It was reported that India had temporarily halted all major exports of AstraZeneca vaccine produced by the Indian Serum Institute (SII) to meet domestic demand following the increase in Covid-19 infections in the country.
The move is expected to affect supply to the World Health Organization-backed Covax vaccine-sharing facility through which many countries are expected to get their supplies.