Khairy: Covid-19 vaccine won’t be mandatory

Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin speaks during a press conference at Parliament in Kuala Lumpur January 5, 2021. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin speaks during a press conference at Parliament in Kuala Lumpur January 5, 2021. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

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KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 5 — Vaccination against Covid-19 will be voluntary in Malaysia, said Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.

He said Malaysians must also indicate their willingness to be vaccinated once the vaccines become available in the country.

“It’s voluntary, so if (you) want to get vaccinated you will have to sign up.

“(There is a) sign-up feature in (the) MySejahtera mobile application, (to get) your consent to be vaccinated,” he said.

When asked if the vaccine will be made available to foreigners free of charge, Khairy said that has yet to be decided.

“We will have a meeting with the special committee in a couple of weeks.

“We will invite the Foreign Ministry, Human Resources Ministry and Home Ministry to make a decision on whether or not the vaccine will be offered to foreigners for free,” he said.

While unable to state explicitly how many foreigners are targeted to receive the vaccine pending a decision on the matter, Khairy said the concerns include both documented and undocumented foreigners.

“We will try to target as many as possible.

“The principle is simple: We need to vaccinate them to ensure that we and they are safe,” he said.

He added that the more foreigners are vaccinated, the safer Malaysians will be.

“If we vaccinate our people, but not three million foreigners, we are at risk because we haven’t hit the threshold of herd immunity,” he said.

At the same time, Khairy also expressed concern about employers’ apparent unwillingness to pay for their foreign workers’ vaccination.

“If we ask them to pay or employers to pay, this might be an obstacle for them. We are considering this carefully,” he said.

Khairy was previously reported as saying that the details of the National Vaccination Plan, which is scheduled to start in February, will be finalised this Thursday.

The government aims to launch the implementation plan when Covid-19 vaccine supplies are acquired.

This is a comprehensive plan which covers the period before vaccines are received, including hospitals that can register to have access to the vaccines, as well as the transportation and storage of vaccines.

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