Report: Govt targets 75,000 Covid-19 jabs daily, seeks to recruit over 10,000 staff for programme

Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin says Malaysia is targeting the administration of 75,000 Covid-19 vaccination jabs daily and is looking to hire over 10,000 workers to carry out the programme. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin says Malaysia is targeting the administration of 75,000 Covid-19 vaccination jabs daily and is looking to hire over 10,000 workers to carry out the programme. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

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KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 27 — Malaysia is targeting the administration of 75,000 Covid-19 vaccination jabs daily and is looking to hire over 10,000 workers to carry out the programme, Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said.

Medical news portal CodeBlue reported Khairy as saying that the government is mulling the recruitment of more general practitioners (GPs), pharmacists, nurses, medical students, the Malaysian Red Crescent, St John Ambulance, and community volunteers for its national Covid-19 immunisation programme.

“We want to try to get as much done as possible by quarter two, quarter three, quarter four. We’ve identified about 600 vaccination sites to do this. But we’re also looking at securing other sites, for instance, we’re looking at stadiums, we’re looking at big venues.

“So I think if we consider 75,000 people per day, with the combination of 600 sites — KKM (Ministry of Health) sites, as well as private clinics and private hospitals — plus these mass vaccination sites that I’m trying to coordinate, if things go as planned, we can get it done by December at the quickest,” he said, adding that mass vaccination centres could run 24 hours a day.

Khairy said the daily goal of 75,000 jabs is Putrajaya’s first target, with the next — depending on vaccine supply — is to administer 150,000 shots a day, to take into account the second dose and to complete the vaccination of 27 million people, or 80 per cent of the population, by March 2022, or soonest by this December.

CodeBlue reported the Rembau MP as saying that the government was also mapping out vaccination sites according to population density and assumptions of demand, estimating how many people can receive shots at each site daily; for example, based on the number of people living within a 10km radius of the site.

“Hopefully, in a month or so, or less than that, we’ll have a decent estimate of when we can finish, assuming we have the supply,” he added.

CodeBlue reported that the 600 identified vaccination sites mentioned by Khairy comprise MoH hospitals and public health clinics (Klinik Kesihatan), university hospitals, Malaysian Armed Forces hospitals and clinics, private GP clinics and private healthcare facilities.

He however reportedly declined to furnish a breakdown for the 600 vaccination sites by state.

“The rate of vaccination at private GP clinics, we’re projecting, is not going to be very high.

“This is more for convenience. If an elderly person is staying in a particular place where it might be far to go to the hospital or the sites, they can go to the local GPs. We’ll have a list on the website, we’ll have it listed in MySejahtera as well, where you might find an appointment,” Khairy said.

He said that the government would pay private GPs for their Covid-19 vaccination services, and their patients will receive the shots for free.

“It is an opportunity cost for the GPs, so we’re prepared to pay for it,” Khairy said, adding that the payment rate for GPs will be released later.

The MoH yesterday signed an agreement with local pharmaceutical companies Pharmaniaga Berhad and Duopharma (M) Sdn Bhd, who will jointly supply 18.4 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines from China and Russia for Malaysia.

The agreement was signed earlier by Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba, with Pharmaniaga represented by its group managing director Datuk Zulkarnain Md Eusope and Duopharma by its group managing director Leonard Ariff Abdul Shatar, respectively.

Pharmaniaga is to supply 12 million doses of the CoronaVac Covid-19 vaccine, manufactured by China’s Sinovac Lifesciences Co Ltd, with the first bulk expected to arrive by next month.

Duopharma will supply 6.4 million doses of the Sputnik V vaccine produced by Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, which is expected to begin its supply in stages by the end of March.

In a statement, the ministry said the CoronaVac vaccine will be administered in two doses to each recipient, with the second dose coming 14 days after the first dose. The 12 million doses are expected to cover six million people or 18.75 per cent of Malaysians aged 18 and above.

Recipients of the Sputnik V vaccine can also expect two doses, with the second dose 21 days after the initial one. It will cover an additional 3.2 million people or 10 per cent of Malaysians aged 18 and above.

The vaccine supply from both companies will begin after approval from the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency’s (NPRA) and the Drug Control Authority.

Prior to this, Putrajaya also signed several agreements with several multinational pharmaceutical companies, including the United States’ Pfizer Inc and Anglo-Swedish company AstraZeneca plc.

Both companies have since provided 24.28 million doses and 6.4 million doses, respectively. The procurement of vaccines will be streamlined with the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme, now in the final stages of approval by the government.

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