PUTRAJAYA, Nov 27 — The COVID-19 vaccine will be given free to Malaysians but foreigners will have to pay a charge determined by the Ministry of Health, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said today.
The prime minister said the government has no plan to make the vaccination compulsory and the vaccine will be administered only to those who agree to take it voluntarily, particularly people at risk and prone to disease.
“I hear that many people out there are waiting for the COVID-19 vaccination to lead a normal life without being easily infected.
“We hope that with the steps taken by the government to supply the vaccine, we can save more people from the disease,” he said at a virtual press conference here.
The press conference was also attended by Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba and Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.
Muhyiddin said a recent study by YouGov, a British international Internet-based market research and data analytics firm, found that 82 per cent of Malaysians are ready to be vaccinated, and he hoped that the number will eventually reach 100 per cent.
Commenting on the criteria for selection of the vaccines for supply, he said priority will be given to vaccines that are of high quality, safe for use and effective based on the results of clinical trials conducted by the companies.
“Besides, the price and supplementary costs, such as for equipment and disposable materials, will be taken into account as well.
“At this early stage, the vaccine to be marketed will surely cost a little high and there will be a difference between one producer and another.
“If there is an opportunity to negotiate to secure a reasonable price, we will do so to get affordable costs with funding not only by the government by also the private sector in the country,” he said.
Muhyiddin said that to address the anti-vaccine movement, the government will organise strategies at the national and state levels to deal with it and strengthen advocacy on the importance of getting immunised.
He said this will be done comprehensively, including via statements to the media, media reports, publications, TV and radio as well as social media besides holding more health seminars and the World Immunisation Day and World Immunisation Week celebrations.
At the community and health clinic levels, appropriate measures will also be taken to inform the community and community leaders about the importance of the people getting immunised, he said.
However, he said, at this stage, the immunisation will not involve school children.
Khairy had said when winding up debate on the Supply Bill 2021 in the Dewan Rakyat that the development of the COVID-19 vaccines right now focused only on adults.
He had said that the vaccines being developed had yet to be tested on children aged 12 and below.