KUALA LUMPUR, April 30 — For Malaysians who have not signed up for Covid-19 vaccination, a survey has shown half of such respondents saying they plan to eventually register within a few months to a years’ time.

However, there is also one-fifth of such Malaysian respondents planning to wait for more than a year before taking the move to register for Covid-19 vaccination, while 28 per cent or more than one-fifth do not intend to sign up to be vaccinated against the virus, the survey results show.

This was discovered in an April 23 survey by market research firm Vase.ai on a total of 1,150 Malaysians nationwide of various ethnicities and ages, where they were asked about their views on the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme.

The survey report did not state how many of the 1,150 respondents had yet to sign up for Covid-19 vaccination, but examined when they would plan to actually register.

“Seventy-two per cent Malaysians who have not registered are taking the ‘wait and see’ approach while the rest do not plan to register at all,” the survey report concluded.

It gave the breakdown of the 72 per cent Malaysian respondents who eventually planned to register as 26 per cent planning to do so within the next three months, 15 per cent in the next four to six months, and 11 per cent in the next seven to 12 months, while 20 per cent said they would sign up more than a year from now.

As for why the Malaysian respondents in the survey have yet to register for Covid-19 vaccination, the market research firm found that 36 per cent were not confident about the vaccines’ efficacy, while 23 per cent were afraid of the potential side-effects of the vaccines.

The survey report noted that respondents had also mentioned reasons such as being pregnant and breastfeeding, as well as not being allowed to choose their preferred Covid-19 vaccine.

The survey of 1,150 Malaysians comprised 48 per cent male and 52 per cent female respondents, with 67 per cent of the respondents being Bumiputera, 23 per cent being Chinese and nine per cent of Indian ethnicity and other ethnicities.

In terms of age, the 1,150 Malaysians involved 27 per cent from the 18 to 24 age group, 30 per cent from the 25 to 34 age group, 23 per cent from the 35 to 44 age group and 20 per cent from the age group of 45 and above.

In terms of geographical distribution, those from peninsula Malaysia were from the Central region (25 per cent), Northern region (21 per cent), Southern region (17 per cent), East Coast region (14 per cent), while those from East Malaysia comprised 23 per cent.

Based on the latest information released by the Malaysia government’s Special Committee on Ensuring Access to Covid-19 Vaccine Supply (JKJAV), a total of 9,365,711 or 9.3 million individuals in Malaysia have registered to receive Covid-19 vaccination.

This represents 38.6 per cent of the Malaysian population aged 18 and above.

As of April 28, the Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF) figures show that over 1.4 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine have been administered in Malaysia as of April 28, comprising of 871,219 persons who have received their first doses and 537,996 persons who have received their second doses.

Under Malaysia’s National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme which started on February 24, the three phases of Covid-19 immunisation that were initially outlined are — targeted vaccination of 500,000 frontliners (February to April 2021), 9.4 million frontliners and high-risk groups such as senior citizens or those with chronic illnesses and persons with disabilities (April to August 2021), 13.7 million or more adults including foreigners and Malaysians (May 2021 to February 2022).

This week, Deutsche Bank’s Asia chief economist Michael Spencer had in a research note said that Malaysia is among several countries that are estimated to still be more than a year away from the target of achieving “population immunity” — having 70 per cent of its population having immunity — against Covid-19.

Among other things, Spencer had noted that vaccination efforts in many countries were slower to begin than had been expected, while also highlighting that there are various factors at play such as vaccine supplies from suppliers, as well as the logistics aspects and the need for dedicated facilities to enable speedy mass vaccination.

“Willingness to get vaccinated is perhaps the greatest obstacle to population immunity and is not something that can be directly influenced by governments,” he had noted, among other things.