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11 Feb 2021

KUALA LUMPUR: The government has agreed to extend the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme, which will start by the end of this month, to foreign nationals residing in Malaysia.

Under the programme, vaccination is provided at no charge.

In a statement here today, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba and Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, who are the joint chairmen of the Vaccine Supply Access Guarantee Committee, said this was decided at the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday (Feb 10).

"It will involve all groups of non-citizens who are residing in Malaysia, However, priority will be given to Malaysian citizens. Further information and vaccination schedule for foreign nationals will be provided later.

"The decision was taken after taking into consideration that an environment that is safe and free of COVID-19 in the country can only be achieved when as many residents as possible are given free vaccination during this pandemic on humanitarian grounds.

“It is in line with the programme's theme ‘Protect Oneself, Protect All’ and the premise that “no one is safe until everyone is safe,” said the joint chairmen.

According to them, the decision was also taken after seeing the high number of cases from clusters arising from foreign workers and the high cost of treating and quarantining COVID-19 patients as a result.

“Foreign workers are also part of the community and have contributed to the nation's economy,” they said in the statement.

They added that the decision also took into consideration that the same treatment was given by some countries to Malaysians residing in those countries.

“This decision will facilitate vaccination of non-citizens and help to make the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme a success.

“The decision on this free vaccination was also made in view of access to COVID-19 vaccines supplies obtained by Malaysia being more than enough to cover Malaysians eligible for vaccination,” the joint chairmen said in statement.

The statement further said that the decision was in line with the government's stand to vaccinate as many Malaysians as possible to enable herd immunity to be achieved in efforts to curb the pandemic.