‘Vaccinating 80% is enough’

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s target of vaccinating 80% of its entire population is sufficient to create herd immunity, says Deputy Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Ahmad Amzad Hashim.

He said the 80% target was “more than enough” to achieve herd immunity as the initial proposal by the Health Ministry was between 60% and 70%.

“At the initial stage to procure Covid-19 vaccines, it was intense. But now, with a better pace and higher production of vaccines from approved international regulatory bodies and the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency, we have increased the target to 80%, ” he said when contacted yesterday.

A handbook on the National Covid-19 Immunisation Plan is set to be unveiled today by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

The Special Committee on Covid-19 Vaccine Supply Access Guarantee said on Twitter that Muhyiddin would be launching the immunisation plan handbook at 9.30am.

Malaysia is currently battling a third wave of the Covid-19 outbreak, with four-digit cases recorded daily in recent weeks.

Ahmad Amzad said although not all of the population would be able to receive the vaccine, the government had still made plans to procure vaccines for more than 100% of the country’s population.

“At this stage, not everyone can receive the Covid-19 vaccine as it has not been comprehensively tested for those aged below 18.

“The vaccine will also not be given to those who have severe allergies, pregnant women and those with a low immune system, ” he said when asked about the 20% of the population that would not receive the vaccine.

He said the move to purchase more vaccines was to reduce several issues and risks including transportation, manufacturing by suppliers and the possibility of any changes to the performance of any Covid-19 vaccine that could affect the objectives of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Plan.

He also noted that for the vaccine procured by the government, parts of it would also involve private hospitals and clinics to help the government’s vaccination efforts.

“The government-owned vaccines will be made free although it is given out at private clinics.

“The cost for injection services at private clinics within the framework of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Plan will paid by the government to the private clinics.

“This is why the people will receive it for free, ” he explained.

For private clinics with access to Covid-19 vaccines that are approved by the government, the people can get their injections according to the type of vaccine offered by the clinic on their own time, but they will have to pay first.

“The payment will be tax exempt as announced in Budget 2021, ” he added.

More than 173 million doses have been administered across 77 countries, according to data collected by Bloomberg.

In the United States, an estimated 53.8 million doses have been given, according to a state-by-state tally. In the last week, an average of 1.68 million doses per day were administered in the United States.

In Singapore, it was reported that a quarter of a million people have received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, and the rest of the population will be able to be vaccinated within this year should supplies arrive as scheduled.

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