Malaysia has emerged top among other major Asean countries in terms of the percentage of people who have received at least a first dose of Covid-19 vaccine, the latest data on the global vaccination exercise shows.
The list excludes Singapore, Brunei, Cambodia and Laos, the four smallest Asean nations either by population or land size.
As of this week, statistics compiled by global data site Our World in Data placed Malaysia first among these countries, with at least 6.2% of its vaccination target met.
It is closely followed by Indonesia (6%).
Indonesia, whose vaccination programme began in mid-January, more than a month ahead of Malaysia, is however slightly ahead in terms of the percentage of people who have been fully vaccinated.
As of May 31, 3.89% of people had been fully vaccinated in Indonesia, and 3.54% in Malaysia.
Both countries are far ahead of the Philippines, Thailand and Myanmar, which are still below 4% in terms of the percentage of people who have received at least a first dose. Myanmar’s vaccination drive started in late January.
Malaysia’s National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK) began on Feb 24, with some 500,000 frontliners vaccinated in the first phase.
The second phase which began in April is expected to cover 9.4 million people comprising senior citizens and those in high-risk groups by August.
Phase Three meanwhile from May this year until February next year will involve some 13.7 million people aged 18 and above.
Khairy Jamaluddin, the minister in charge of PICK, has repeatedly assured that the vaccination rate, criticised by some as slow, will pick up as more supplies of vaccine arrive in the country.
“With the rate we are projecting, I’m confident we can get it done by the end of the year,” he said at a press conference on May 19.
Speaking at a press conference in Penang today, he said 105,655 doses of vaccine were administered yesterday, most of which were first doses.
He said the government aims to administer 150,000 shots per day by June and 200,000 by July.
He said this could be achieved through the establishment of more vaccination centres, including at 1,000 private clinics nationwide, as well as through a drive-thru system, Bernama reported.