Pregnant women to start being vaccinated this weekend – Minister

PUTRAJAYA – The vaccination process for pregnant women will commence in Kuala Lumpur and Perlis this weekend, National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK) Coordinating Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said.

He said from the 98,166 applications received by the Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF), some 3,000 appointments have been given to pregnant women in Kuala Lumpur and another 224 in Perlis last week.

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“We will give out more appointments in stages according to their estimated date of delivery (EDD). Applications from the other states are being processed and will be prioritised according to the EDD,” he said in a joint media conference with Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba here today.

The Health Ministry (MOH) had before this recommended the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for pregnant women between week 14 and 33, and said that they have to get prior consultation from their doctors on the vaccination.

Khairy said CITF had also approved 5,621 COVID-19 vaccination applications from students who intend to further their education abroad.

“Each application received will be processed as soon as possible and before they leave the country,” he said, adding that students under this category can apply via permohonan@vaksincovid.gov.my.

Khairy said 782 health facilities involving private health practitioners have been operational since May 3, with a total capacity of administering 93,358 vaccine shots a day.

“CITF will continue to use their services for our vaccination efforts such as in the mobile vaccination drive with non-governmental organisations.

Khairy also said that phase three of PICK that kicked off today in Kuala Lumpur was implemented after 99 per cent of senior citizens there (Kuala Lumpur) had received at least the first dose of the vaccine.

“However, senior citizens will continue to remain on the priority list for vaccine shots as soon as they register,” he said.

Phase three for the Klang Valley commenced today at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium vaccination centre.

Ten percent fully vaccinated

Ten per cent of the country’s population or 3.2 million people are expected to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by the middle of next month, said Khairy.

He said this target was considered achievable based on the number of vaccination centres (PPV) opened and the amount of vaccines received, comprising 4,078,620 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech, 3,687,880 doses of Sinovac and 828,000 doses of AstraZeneca.

“Beginning the second week of July, we will see an increase in vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech every week. As for the AstraZeneca vaccine, we will get a new delivery in early July,” he said at a joint news conference with Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba on developments regarding PICK.

Khairy said the highest number of doses administered daily was 221,706, and the next benchmark has been set at 300,000 doses a day.

“The nationwide vaccination rate has been stepped up, in line with the target of the National Recovery Plan to achieve herd immunity as soon as possible,” he said.

He said the government aimed to administer eight million doses of vaccine this month in order to achieve the 10 per cent target.

The government had said it hoped to vaccinate 80 per cent of the population by the end of the year to achieve herd immunity.

Meanwhile, Khairy said companies participating in the Public-Private Industry Partnership COVID-19 Immunisation Programme (Pikas) only need to pay the operational costs as the vaccines are provided free by the government.

“We are not forcing them to participate and because of my engagement with industry players, they came forward to help the government accelerate (the programme) and shoulder some of the costs.

“The government is providing vaccines free of charge, and the company bears the operational costs of the vaccination charged by ProtectHealth. This is not a profit-making exercise, and the charges that we impose are kept to a minimum,” he added.

As at June 16, a total of 2,082 companies with 301,050 workers were reported to have registered under Pikas to get their workers vaccinated.