Anwar Claims Covid-19 Vaccination Falls Short Despite Record High Rates

The opposition leader also claims that Malaysia’s Covid-19 vaccination programme was late.

KUALA LUMPUR, July 26 — Despite a recent spike in Malaysia’s Covid-19 vaccination rate, Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim alleged today that it still did not meet the government’s projections.

More than half a million Covid-19 vaccine doses were administered nationwide on July 22. The seven-day average for the past week from July 19 to 25 reached 423,265 daily shots to the arm.

According to global data tracker Our World In Data on July 24, Malaysia vaccinated 8.9 per cent of its population in the past week, tied with Ireland for the second-highest Covid-19 vaccination rate globally.

“Late vaccination. Now there is a little success in vaccination, but it’s still far from projections,” Anwar said today in a special Dewan Rakyat meeting.

He also condemned the Dewan Rakyat Speaker’s decision to bar MPs from debating and voting in Parliament this week.

“The economy of the country has not improved. The mortality rate has increased and the daily positive [Covid-19] cases have reached 17,000,” said Anwar.

“For health and financial matters, there is no voting. On the government spendings and Covid-19 issues, there is no voting.

“People are dying, unwell, unable to get admitted in hospitals, suffering, and killing themselves, including Selangor,” added the Port Dickson MP from PKR.

Yesterday, the Ministry of Health reported a daily record high of 17,045 Covid-19 cases, including 8,500 in Selangor itself. Malaysia also reported a daily average of 131 coronavirus-related fatalities in the past 14 days.

It is to be noted that National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK) Coordinating Minister Khairy Jamaluddin has slammed rich countries for hoarding Covid-19 vaccines, which led to slow vaccine deliveries to developing countries like Malaysia. PICK was launched late February. 

As of July 25, a total of 50.4 per cent of adults (11,797,708 people) in Malaysia have received at least the first Covid-19 vaccine dose. 

Of them, 23.6 per cent of adults (5,519,845 people) have completed Covid-19 vaccination by receiving the second dose.

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin told the Dewan Rakyat today that he expected PICK to complete by October.

Under the three phases of PICK, a total 500,000 adults, mainly health care workers, were aimed to be vaccinated in the first phase from February to April.

A total of 9.4 million people — including senior citizens, people with comorbidities and people with disabilities — were listed to be inoculated in the second phase from April to August this year. 

Under the third phase, the remaining 13.7 million people in Malaysia were scheduled for vaccination from May this year to February next year, based on the government’s projections when PICK was first launched.

However, it is unknown if these targets have been achieved since the government has not released updated granular data on Covid-19 vaccination rates based on the specific target group.

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin told the Dewan Rakyat today that he expected PICK to complete by October.

“According to the original plan, it is expected that 80 per cent of the adult population in Malaysia will receive complete doses of vaccine by the first quarter of 2022. However, the PICK programme will be further intensified so that the target of inoculating 100 per cent of the adult population completely can be achieved earlier by October this year,” Muhyiddin said in Parliament today.

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