Malaysia to ramp up COVID-19 vaccinations as new infections surge

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Malaysia is planning to set up more mega vaccination centres and get private doctors to join immunisation efforts, after five consecutive days of record daily coronavirus infections.

Science Minister Khairy Jamaluddin told a virtual news briefing on Sunday that the government will set up another five mega vaccination centres around the capital, Kuala Lumpur, and are considering two in the northen state of Penang and in the southern state of Johor.

The government will also train general practitioners to administer COVID-19 vaccines, he said, noting some vaccines need to be handled and stored differently than usual vaccines.

“Before this, there was no need (to involve the private healthcare sector) because the vaccine supply was not a lot. As the supply increases, we want to facilitate private clinics, (general practitioner) clinics, private hospitals to roll out the vaccines via our programme, for free,” he said.

The private vaccination centres could administer a total of 40,000 doses a day, he said, adding that the government aims to raise daily vaccinations to 150,000 doses. It has reached 107,000 doses a day this week.

Nearly 6% of the country’s 32 million people have been vaccinated, according to the website of the governmental Special Committee for Ensuring Access to COVID-19 Vaccine Supply.

Khairy said the government is also looking to allow drive-through vaccination centres in the country, after guidelines are firmed up.

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin on Friday announced a nationwide total lockdown from June 1-14 in an effort to curb the spread of the virus.

Malaysia reported 6,999 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, bringing the total infections in the country to 565,533.

New cases and deaths rose to records on Saturday.

Photo: A man passes graffiti, related to coronavirus during the first day of a movement control order by Malaysia government, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. EPA-EFE/FAZRY ISMAIL