Big boost in Malaysia's vaccination rate

A health worker administering a Covid-19 vaccine at the Putra World Trade Centre in Kuala Lumpur, May 17, 2021. The government announced one million more doses of AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccination will be opened for opt-in registrations on May 23.— GLENN GUAN/The Star

PETALING JAYA: The country's Covid-19 vaccinations recorded its fastest rate on Wednesday (May 19) with more than 80,000 shots administered.

A breakdown of the latest daily figures by the Special Committee On Covid-19 Vaccine Supply shows that a total of 83,648 vaccine jabs were administered on Wednesday.

It was the highest daily figure ever recorded since the committee started releasing daily figures on March 2.

Of the 83,648 shots, 49,722 were for the 1st dose with the remaining 33,926 were second dose injections.

The pace of vaccinations rose rapidly from May 2, when only 15,651 doses were administered, to May 10 (61,200).

The numbers started falling again especially during the Hari Raya Aidilfitri holiday period but has since shot up the new high on Wednesday.

In all, a total of 2,236,695 people in Malaysia have received a vaccine dose.

From the figure 849,243 have received both 1st and second doses.

READ ALSO > How Malaysia’s fight against Covid-19 is progressing

The uptick in the country's vaccination rate drew attention from Matthew Tostevin, South-East Asia Editor at Reuters.

"Malaysia has picked up the pace of its Covid-19 vaccination campaign massively - an example for others in Southeast Asia," he Tweeted yesterday (Friday).

The pace of vaccinations could see a further ramping up in the coming days and weeks.

In addition to the country's ongoing vaccination programme, a special second round of opt-ins for the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine will open for registration at noon on Sunday (May 23).

The opt-in programme, with priority for those aged 60 and above in Klang Valley, Penang, Johor, Kuching and Miri, could raise the daily vaccinations further.

There have been criticisms about the pace of vaccinations in the country, but Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin has explained that the government's ability to ramp up the vaccination rate has been constrained by issue of vaccine supplies.

“It is not a question of the government not wanting to administer jabs quickly. The issue here is with the supply.

“So as soon as we get a supply of vaccines, we want to immediately jab it into people’s arms. The question of withholding the vaccine jabs does not arise, ” Khairy, who is the coordinating minister for the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme, said at his weekly joint press conference with Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba on Monday (May 3).

Khairy also said the government is hoping to ramp up the utilisation rate of the Covid-19 vaccines after the Hari Raya celebrations.

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