KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 23 — Human Resources Minister M. Saravanan said today he has discussed with the Malaysian representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) about vaccinating refugees in Malaysia against Covid-19.
Saravanan said the inoculation of UNHCR card holders was in line with the national Covid-19 vaccination programme starting tomorrow and covering three phases.
“Immunisation must also be expanded to UNHCR card holders to prevent the emergence of Covid-19 clusters among them,” Saravanan said in a statement.
“Several countries have also expressed their preparedness to cover the cost of immunisation for UNHCR card holders.”
He noted that 178,610 refugees and asylum seekers have registered with UNHCR in Malaysia as of December 2020. Out of that number, 154,030 are from Myanmar, including 102,250 Rohingya, 22,140 Chin, and other ethnic groups.
UNHCR estimates that more than 20,000 individuals have yet to be registered.
“Therefore, this immunisation programme requires involvement from UNHCR to distribute information in the field, besides participation from government ministries and agencies,” said Saravanan.
Vaccine Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, who heads the government’s Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force, has said that undocumented migrants, like Malaysian citizens, would get vaccinated for free under the national inoculation campaign.