AFTER over a year of fighting the dreadful Covid-19 pandemic, I believe we have turned the corner. There is now light at the end of the tunnel despite the grim figures of new daily infections, which, despite a slight decline, still hover in the four-digit realm.
The reason why I am upbeat is because our Covid-19 National Immunisation Programme (NIP) is picking up pace. On Wednesday, NIP coordinating minister Khairy Jamaluddin announced that 150, 000 doses were administered the day before and that we are on track to hitting our daily 200, 000 target soon.
The announcements came on the back of last Saturday's message by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin that over 300 new vaccination centres (PPV) would be operational nationwide soon. And by August, the country is expected to receive 16 million doses of vaccines.
At this rate, we are expected to reach herd immunity by December or even earlier, according to the Health Minister. This latest projection is a revised target from the initial March 2022 announced by the government earlier this year.
The speed in the NIP rollout would not have been possible without the aggressive push by the government to open up more PPVs, making it easier for the public to get vaccinated. Before this, there had been reports of no-shows due to problems reaching the centres, especially in rural areas and where the elderly are involved.
The government's relentless effort to secure more vaccines should also be lauded. We are catching up with our neighbours, if not overtaken them. Even Thailand, which produces AstraZeneca, only started its mass vaccination plan on June 7 amid soaring new infections from a third wave in the country.
Kudos to Muhyiddin who pushed to make the inoculation process more accessible to Malaysians by opening up more PPVs and securing more vaccines, including taking part in the clinical trial of a new vaccine produced by Shenzhen Kangtai Biological Products Co Ltd.
The government has listened to rumblings on the ground about the need to speed up the vaccine rollout and acted on them.
Covid-19 vaccination works and the government knows this. Countries like Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, which are far ahead in their vaccination rollout, have seen "normalcy" return as infections dip to negligible levels.
With the government's aggressive rollout of the NIP, there's now light at the end of the tunnel.