Kuala Lumpur, 13 February — The Government’s recent decision to include foreign nationals residing in Malaysia into the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme, providing them access and coverage of vaccines at no cost, is both right and embedded in sound public health practices.
“We must look to and plan for the future. If you want to reopen economic sectors, rebuild livelihoods and position Malaysia as a safe and responsible destination for investors, tourists and other countries, we need to ensure that the COVID-19 strategy such as rolling out the COVID-19 vaccines includes everyone, leaving no one behind,” commented Azrul Mohd Khalib, Chief Executive of the Galen Centre for Health And Social Policy. “The coronavirus neither distinguishes nor cares whether or not a person is Malaysian, or what kind of documentation they carry. However, ensuring that everyone is vaccinated, will make a significant difference.”
“Malaysians living abroad are already getting vaccinated alongside the citizens of other countries, and are not excluded from vaccination programmes in those locations. Ensuring that as many people are vaccinated against COVID-19, without discrimination, bias or preference is a public health strategy towards achieving the objective of herd immunity. We will not be able to reach this objective, if we are selective in who we vaccinate,” Azrul emphasised.
“Countries which have taken this approach are already seeing significant and positive changes in their epidemics. Efforts to control the spread of COVID-19 in Malaysia will be strengthened by this decision. We support the government’s recognition and adoption of the principle that “no one is safe until everyone is safe”.
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