States free to procure vaccines on their own: Malaysian minister

PETALING JAYA The state governments of Selangor and Sarawak are free to secure their own supply of vaccines, provided the vaccines have been approved for use in Malaysia, said Mr Khairy Jamaluddin, the minister in charge of the country's Covid-19 immunisation programme.

He said yesterday he has given positive responses to state governments that have expressed intentions to procure Covid-19 vaccines on their own.

His comments followed a statement by opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim on Tuesday that Selangor and Sarawak governments were facing delays in approvals for procuring their own supply of vaccines.

Just over 1 million of Malaysia's nearly 33 million population - around 3 per cent - have been vaccinated at least once since the inoculation programme started on Feb 24, with the supply of vaccines expected to accelerate in June.

Malaysia aims to achieve herd immunity by vaccinating 80 per cent of the population by the end of the year.

"In my discussion with the Selangor Menteri Besar, he verbally mentioned Selangor's plans to procure vaccines.

"I have responded positively, but until now I have not received any official request from the state government," said Mr Khairy.

Malaysia had 2,340 new Covid-19 cases yesterday, taking the total to 381,813, the Health Ministry said. This is the seventh consecutive day that the number of cases remained above the 2,000 mark.

Selangor recorded the most cases with 526 new infections. There were 11 deaths, taking the total to 1,400. - THE STAR