Foreigners living in Malaysia to receive COVID-19 vaccine for free

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KUALA LUMPUR: As Putrajaya launches its immunisation program at the end of February, foreigners residing in Malaysia can receive the COVID-19 vaccine for free.

Malaysia’s COVID-19 Vaccine Supply Access Guarantee Committee emphasized in a media statement released on Thursday (Feb 11) that Malaysians would be prioritized to receive the vaccination doses, but maintained that the decision to include foreigners is vital to the program’s success.

In November, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin had previously declared that Malaysians would receive COVID-19 vaccinations free of charge, adding that the government has no intention to make the vaccination compulsory.

The most recent statement added that the Cabinet approved the decision after considering factors such as how a large portion of COVID-19 cases are covered by foreign workers in the existing COVID-19 clusters in Malaysia, especially those in the construction, agriculture and manufacturing sectors.

The statement pointed out that diseases have “high costs” due to care and quarantine procedures as a result of foreign worker clusters.

In addition, the committee added that only when as many people in Malaysia as possible are vaccinated can an atmosphere free of COVID-19 be achieved.

“Foreign workers have become part of our community and also contribute to the country’s economy,” the statement said. 

“During this pandemic period, vaccine distribution is a humane move,” the statement added. 

The committee added that the decision to give foreigners free vaccination was also taken because the amount of doses received by the government of Malaysia exceeded the number of Malaysian people eligible to be inoculated.

“It is also in line with the government’s stand to give the vaccine to as many in the Malaysian population as possible so as to achieve herd immunity in overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic,” the statement said.  The committee outlined that in the future, the timetable for vaccinating foreigners will be revealed.

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