Crushed by COVID, Malaysia now has one of the world’s fastest vaccination rates

(The Sydney Morning Herald) – Six weeks after entering a nationwide lockdown, Malaysia is in a state of paralysis.

Hospitals and their staff are overwhelmed, the unemployed are going hungry, the economy is reeling and the infection rate has continued to climb, reaching a level twice that even of COVID-ravaged Indonesia on a per capita basis.

Amid the death and despondency in the south-east Asian nation of 32 million, however, there is one silver lining.

Khairy Jamaluddin has procured 25 million doses of Pfizer for Malaysia to arrive between now and September. CREDIT:BLOOMBERG

Malaysia now boasts one of the fastest vaccination rates in the world, doling out more than 400,000 doses a day, out-performed in the past week only by Canada among countries of a similar size or greater – and double the pace of Australia.

Khairy Jamaluddin, the Oxford-educated Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation in charge of the rollout, told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age the government had been able to accelerate inoculation after two months ago renegotiating the supply and delivery of the vaccines it has purchased, 70 per cent of which are Pfizer.

“Most of our portfolio is Pfizer and then we spread our bets,” he said. “We decided early on that it would be dangerous to put our eggs in one or two baskets.

“I think we are at the stage now where we really need to vaccinate ourselves out of the situation that we have found ourselves in.”

Aside from Pfizer, Malaysia has also sourced doses from China’s Sinovac, AstraZeneca and the single-shot Chinese vaccine CanSino, as well as others via the UN’s COVAX vaccine facility.