With mass vaccination programmes making steady progress nationwide, Malaysian officials have announced they expect to have fully inoculated approximately 10% of the population (3.2 million people) by mid-July. With herd immunity expected to arrive by August, Malaysia is now setting its sights on a Covid-19 exit plan.
Khairy Jamaluddin, who is the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation and Coordinating Minister for the national Covid-19 Immunisation Programme, has confirmed the government is on track to administer around 10.7 million doses of the vaccine by 15 July.
The minister has also said the government aims to vaccinate 40% of Malaysia’s population by the end of August and 60% by the end of September, depending on the availability of vaccines and the country’s capacity to distribute them.
Current progress offers reason for optimism. According to the latest figures, 4.9 million people over the age of 18 have received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. Within this group, 1.89 million more have also had the second jab and are now immune to the virus.
Yesterday alone (24/6), a total of 269,604 doses were administered nationwide, capping off three consecutive days when the number of new vaccinations surpassed a quarter of a million. According to Health Minister Dr. Adham Baba, the overall total now stands at more than 6.8 million. Malaysia is therefore well on course to reach – and surpass – its own immunity targets in the coming weeks.
The public has jumped at the chance to get vaccinated. More than half of all adults have already registered for the mass programme. In recent weeks, vaccination centres (PPV) have been opening nationwide to meet demand, leading to an acceleration in the rate of immunity. Some districts, such as Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya, are even expected to reach herd immunity ahead of schedule.
Riding a wave of good news, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has confirmed his government is putting the finishing touches to a National Recovery Plan, which will outline the country’s exit strategy for Covid-19, including the easing of restrictions in phases.
“It is time we set an exit strategy or National Recovery Plan for us to get out of this problem,” said the PM in a broadcast on 13 June. “But this is a big challenge [that depends] on the cooperation and support of all parties,” he added.
The plan will consider the current statistics and existing policies on containment measures, along with economic concerns and the progress of vaccination programmes. The first draft of the plan is due to be presented in front of the National Security Council within the next week. After that, Malaysia’s tourism revival will be ready to get up and running.
“I believe we can start thinking about opening borders once other countries are confident [in] our management of Covid-19,” confirmed Khairy.