Here is the latest COVID-19 vaccine plan for Malaysia, as announced by the Ministry of Health.
We will keep this article updated over time, so check back for more updates!
Malaysia COVID-19 Vaccine Plan : Four Vaccines Purchased So Far
Malaysia has so far signed agreements to purchase four vaccines in 2021 :
- 25 million doses of BNT162b2 vaccine from Pfizer-BioNTech
- 6.4 million doses of AZD1222 vaccine from AstraZeneca-Oxford
- 12 million doses of CoronaVac vaccine from Sinovac Biotech
- 6.4 million doses of Sputnik V vaccine from Gamaleya Research Institute
That is enough COVID-19 vaccine doses to immunise up to 24.9 million people – roughly 77.8% of the adult population in Malaysia.
Malaysia COVID-19 Vaccine Plan : Three Phases
The Malaysia COVID-19 vaccine program will kick off on 24 February 2021, with the arrival of the Pfizer-BioNTech BNT162b2 vaccine, and last until February 2022.
Phase 1 : 24 February – April 2021
Phase 1 will involve immunising 500,000 front line workers, divided into two groups :
- Group 1 : public and private healthcare workers
- Group 2 : frontliners providing essential services and national defence (like teachers, the police, civil defence (RELA), firefighters, rescue workers, and the armed forces).
* Originally scheduled to start in first week of March, it was brought forward to 24 February 2021.
Phase 2 : April – August 2021
Phase 2 will focus on immunising 9.4 million high-risk adults, divided into two groups :
- Group 1 : remaining healthcare workers and frontliners (including defence)
- Group 2 : senior citizens 60 years or older, disabled adults, and vulnerable adults with chronic diseases, like heart disease, obesity, diabetes and hypertension
Phase 3 : May 2021 – February 2022
Phase 3 will make the COVID-19 vaccine available to the rest of the population :
- adults 18 years or older
– prioritised from red zones > yellow zones > green zones
This may be the last phase, but it is the most critical phase to build herd immunity that will protect the rest of the population that cannot be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Malaysia COVID-19 Vaccine : FREE For ALL Citizens + Foreign Residents
The COVID-19 vaccines will be provided FREE for all Malaysian citizens, as well as foreign residents.
The Malaysian government originally announced that the vaccines would be provided to all Malaysian citizens for FREE.
But on 11 February 2021, they announced that the COVID-19 vaccine would also be provided for FREE to all foreign residents.
Malaysia COVID-19 Vaccine Plan : How To Register?
On 5 January 2020, the Science, Technology and Innovation Minister, Khairy Jamaluddin, announced that COVID-19 vaccination will be voluntary in Malaysia.
He also said that Malaysians will have to (later) register for the COVID-19 vaccine through a “sign-up feature” in the MySejahtera app.
That was expanded on 12 February 2021 to FIVE (5) ways to register for the COVID-19 vaccine plan :
- The MySejahtera app – a future update will introduce a button to register for an appointment.
- The Vaksin COVID website.
- A telephone hotline to be announced later.
- Manually at health clinics, hospitals and private clinics
- House-to-house registration at targeted rural areas for senior citizens.
Public registration program for Phase 2 and Phase 3 of the COVID-19 vaccine programme will begin on 1 March 2021.
Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine Plan For Malaysia : Both Doses Reserved
On 13 February 2021, Dr. Kalaiarasu Periasamy, the Director of the Institute of Clinical Research (ICR) announced the Malaysia Ministry of Health’s “One Dose Injected, One Dose Reserved” strategy.
Two doses will be reserved for each person, with the second dose administered 21 days after the first dose, as recommended by Pfizer and BioNTech.
When you arrive to a vaccination centre, you will be registered for both doses. You will be given a vaccination card, and registered in the MySejahtera app as well.
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Malaysia COVID-19 Vaccine Plan : 600 Sites Identified
The vaccines will be administered at 600 locations across the country, that consist of :
- Ministry of Health healthcare facilities
- Ministry of Defence facilities
- University hospitals
Malaysia COVID-19 Vaccine Plan : Path To 80% Coverage
Malaysia originally aimed to achieve vaccination coverage of 82.8% of the adult population, approximately 26.5 million people.
But in their 5 February 2021 update, the Ministry of Health now aim to immunise 25.6 million people – 80% of the adult population, or about 76.6% of the population.
If they succeed, this would put Malaysia somewhere between the minimum 70% and the ideal 80% immunisation targets that many scientists believe are necessary to achieve herd immunity against COVID-19.
Path To 80% COVID-19 Vaccination Coverage
This is what the COVID-19 vaccine supply will be like for the adult population in Malaysia :
- 39% will receive the BNT162b2 vaccine from Pfizer-BioNTech
- 18.75% will receive the CoronaVac vaccine from Sinovac BioTech.
- 10% will receive the AZD1222 vaccine from AstraZeneca-Oxford
- 10% will receive the Sputnik V vaccine from Gamaleya Research Institute.
The remaining 2.5% of the adult population will be covered by further vaccine purchases, either from the existing four suppliers, or these two sources mentioned earlier :
- vaccines from the COVAX facility
- the Convidecia vaccine from CanSino Biologics.
Why So Many Vaccines?
According to KKM, they decided to purchase from different vaccine manufacturers to ensure a sufficient supply of vaccines.
We had earlier pointed out that it was impossible for any one, or two, or even three vaccine manufacturer to manufacture enough vaccines to vaccinate the entire world.
It only makes sense that Malaysia will need to purchase from multiple companies to receive enough doses to vaccinate its population.
The only problem with using six different vaccines? Healthcare workers and logistics will need to keep track and deal with different administration and storage requirements.
While it may be possible to avoid that by allocating different vaccines by location, it would make for poor optics and possibly poorer uptake of the vaccination program.
COVID-19 : How To Keep Safe!
Here are a few simple steps to stay safe from the SARS-CoV-2 virus :
- Avoid suspected cases or disease hotspots, like hospitals, if possible!
- Avoid public events and crowds
- Keep our hands clean with soap or hand sanitiser
- If you need to wear a surgical mask, make sure you put it on and remove it properly!
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