KUALA LUMPUR: With Malaysia's per capita vaccination rate now among the fastest in the world, the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (Pick) is seen as an important shield in the fight against the virus and in achieving the herd immunity in the country.

Coordinating minister for the immunisation programme, Khairy Jamaluddin, when explaining the programme in the Dewan Rakyat today, said the percentage of the country’s population having received at least one dose of the Covid-19 had surpassed some developed countries, like Japan, Australia, South Korea and New Zealand.

He said the immunisation programme, involving an allocation of RM5.8 billion, initially targeted 80 per cent of the population to receive the vaccine by February next year, but had been brought earlier to December this year after taking into account the current development.

“The duration has been further shortened to this October,“ said Khairy, who is Science, Technology and Innovation Minister.

The tally for the daily Covid-19 vaccination recorded the highest yesterday, totalling 553,871 doses nationwide.

Khairy attributed the success of the programme to the involvement of various parties through a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach, including operation of the vaccination centres (PPV) which involved health and non-health workers.

As of July 22, he said, there were 2,313 PPVs of various types and capacity operating nationwide, and involved 6,133 volunteers who are non-health workers.

He also thanked the parliamentary members for their assistance in helping their constituents to register for the vaccination, as well as provide transportation for them to go to the PPVs.

On the number of people who had registered for Pick, he said the percentage was still low, at 61.7 per cent of the total Malaysian population, compared to the target of 80 per cent.

He said as of last Monday (July 26), 20.13 million Malaysians had registered for the vaccination with 18.8 million of them aged 8 and above.

“Based on these statistics, it is clear that the number who registered is still low compared to the Pick target of 80 percent. If we look at the statistics on the vaccination registration in several states, the percentage is lower than the threshold value set under the National Recovery Plan for a state to move from one phase to another.

“The total adult population who is registered is 80.5 per cent, with those aged 60 and above totalling 3.5 million people,” he said, adding that 89 per cent of the senior citizens who are registered have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

Based on the total number of vaccines received, which was 26.38 million, Khairy said Klang Valley covering Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Putrajaya, received the highest number of vaccine doses, totalling 9.09 million since the immunisation programme was implemented until last July 31, followed by Sarawak (3.65 million) and Johor. (2.06 million).

To date, six types of vaccines have passed the evaluation of the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Division and obtained conditional registration approval from the Drug Control Authority (DCA). They are Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca), Janssen (J&J), Comirnaty (Pfizer), CoronaVac (Sinovac), AstraZeneca and Convidecia. (CanSino).

Another two types of Covid-19 vaccines -- Covilo (Sinopharm) and Janssen (J&J) -- have also received conditional approval from the DCA. -Bernama