Putrajaya today announced that all foreign nationals living in Malaysia will be able to get vaccinated against COVID-19 for free, including undocumented migrants.
In a statement, the COVID-19 Vaccine Supply Access Guarantee Committee said that the decision to include foreign nationals in the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme — which will begin at the end of this month — is in line with its campaign theme of ‘Protect Oneself, Protect All’.
“This decision to grant free vaccinations to foreign nationals living in Malaysia was also made because Malaysia’s COVID-19 vaccine supply is more than sufficient and actually exceeds the number of Malaysian citizens who are eligible to receive it,” it said.
It added that the decision also takes into consideration several other factors, such as achieving herd immunity, the number of COVID-19 patients and clusters from foreign workers, the cost of treating patients who were infected by foreign workers, the fact that foreign workers do contribute to the Malaysian economy, as well as taking following the lead of other countries, who have vaccinated Malaysian citizens at zero cost.
“This decision will help facilitate the giving of vaccines to non-citizens and assist in the success of the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme,” it said.
However, it said that Malaysian citizens would still be given priority to receive the COVID-19 vaccines and that the schedule and information for non-citizens will be released soon.
“This is also in line with the government’s stance to vaccinate as many people as possible in Malaysia to allow herd immunity to be formed in order to curb the COVID-19 pandemic,” it said.
Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin — who co-chairs the special COVID-19 vaccine committee with Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba — posted on Twitter today that the Cabinet has also agreed to provide vaccines for free to diplomats, expatriates, students, foreign spouses and children, documented refugees, as well as undocumented migrants.
“The COVID-19 Vaccine Supply Access Guarantee Committee will be discussing further on how this can be implemented.
“We will be reaching out to state governments, foreign embassies, NGOs to assist,” he said in his tweet.
Last week, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme, which is set to roll out at the end of this month, is the biggest vaccination effort ever implemented in Malaysia.
He said 80 per cent of the country’s population, or approximately 26.5 people, are expected to receive the vaccines free of charge. ― Malay Mail