HERE’S a fact that may surprise you: The number of Covid-19 vaccine doses that have been administered in Malaysia now could cover almost three times Singapore’s 5.7 million population.
As at July 24, we have administered 16.9 million doses of the vaccine, of which 32.2% of the eligible adult population has received the first dose, while 16.5%, the second dose according to the Health Ministry’s portal.
According to Oxford University’s Our World in Data website, Malay-sia’s vaccination rate per 100 population reached a high of 1.27 on July 19. This is higher than the United States, which peaked at 1.01 vaccine doses per 100 people on April 13. Thanks to the availability of huge supplies of vaccines in July, our vaccination rate has been ramped up to over 400,000 a day, hitting a daily high of over half a million doses on July 23.
In Singapore, only around 26,000 vaccine doses were administered per day, although the republic hopes to raise it to 48,000 so that two-thirds of its population will be fully vaccinated by its National Day on Aug 9, according to The Straits Times. Even if Singapore can hit the target, that’s just 10% of Malaysia’s daily capacity, if not less. Singapore also started its vaccination programme last December, some three months ahead of Malaysia’s.
The point in comparing Malaysia’s vaccination rate with that of Singapore’s is not to belittle the latter or other countries. Our southern neighbour has a fairly commendable track record in keeping a lid on the pandemic, save for incidents like clusters from its foreign workers’ hostels and the latest, infections from a KTV lounge.
Many Malaysians have always held Singapore as the high watermark in achievements, including on Covid-19 vaccination. Some months back, we frowned upon learning that at the then vaccination rate, Malaysia could only hit our herd immunity target in five years, while Singapore would achieve theirs by year-end.
At our current rate, the Prime Minister has said that we are on track to have all eligible adults fully vaccinated by the end of October, although some estimates expect the target to be achieved sooner.
Our World in Data founder Max Roser even tweeted about our achievements: “A positive development in Malaysia. The country is now vaccinating very rapidly.”
If a foreigner, whose profession revolves around global data and statistics can recognise the leaps and bounds we have made in our National Immunisation Programme, can we, as Malaysians, take a moment to acknowledge the government’s success in this? Let’s give credit where credit is due.
As we know, the immunisation programme is key in enabling the country to get back to its pre-pandemic days. With the National Recovery Plan now being rolled out, coupled with our speedy vaccination rate, the light at the end of the tunnel is now shining brighter than before.
LOUIS KANG ,Petaling Jaya