Sunday, September 26, 2021

Vaccine supply to stabilise by June, Khairy assures

The minister in charge of the national vaccination programme says Malaysia will have enough supply coming to ensure that the population target of 80% is achieved before year-end.

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Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin today assured that Malaysia’s supply of Covid-19 vaccine would stabilise by June, at which point he said mass vaccination would be in “full swing”.

Noting concerns by some over the rate of vaccination so far, he said “for now, demand outstrips supply”.

But based on the delivery schedules received from suppliers, he said, Malaysia would have enough supply coming to ensure that the population target of 80% is achieved before year-end.

“So while I know everyone is anxious about getting their Covid-19 vaccination, I would also like to manage expectations with the reality of vaccine availability,” he said in a statement, adding that he would continue to push for more supplies to arrive sooner.

Khairy, who is in charge of the national vaccination programme, said vaccine supplies in Malaysia and other middle-income countries are low as developed countries are dominating the market.

“Some rich countries have bought enough vaccines for their citizens three to five times over,” he said, adding that many pharmaceutical companies also give preference to such countries.

He said this is also why Malaysia has had to balance its Covid-19 vaccine portfolio to include jabs from different suppliers including Pfizer and AstraZeneca as well as vaccines from non-Western countries such as China’s Sinovac.

Phase 1 of the national vaccination programme which began in late February with the inoculation of frontliners will wrap up soon, with Phase 2 involving senior citizens and those in high-risk groups to kick off on April 19.

Phase Three, which involves adults aged 18 and above, is scheduled to begin in May.

The government is aiming to achieve herd immunity through the inoculation of 80% of the population by February 2022.

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