PETALING JAYA: Foreigners living in Malaysia will be vaccinated for free under the National Immunisation Programme, which includes undocumented foreign workers.
“The Cabinet has decided that foreign citizens residing in Malaysia will receive Covid-19 vaccines for free under the National Immunisation Programme,” said science, technology and innovation minister Khairy Jamaluddin in a Twitter post.
“This will include diplomats, expatriates, students, foreign spouses and children, foreign workers and UNHCR card holders.
“In principle, the Cabinet has also agreed to provide the vaccines free for undocumented foreigners,” he said, adding that further discussions were needed to decide how the policy would be implemented.
He also said the Covid-19 vaccine supply access guarantee committee will be reaching out to state governments, foreign embassies and non-governmental organisations to assist.
In a statement today, the committee said “no one is safe until everyone is safe”, adding that the decision to vaccinate foreigners was necessary in order to achieve herd immunity.
The committee noted that Covid-19 can only be eradicated in the country if as many Malaysian residents as possible are vaccinated, stating that it was a humanitarian move which was necessary to stem the spread of the pandemic.
“Among the other factors taken into consideration include the high number of (Covid-19) patients in clusters involving foreign workers in the agriculture, construction and manufacturing industries,” said the committee.
“Foreigners have become a part of our community and contribute to the nation’s economy.”
The committee said the high cost of treating and quarantining Covid-19 patients, as a result of infections from clusters involving foreign workers, was another factor behind the move, as was the fact that several other countries are also vaccinating foreigners staying there, which includes Malaysians.
The committee added that the decision to vaccinate foreigners was also due to the country’s adequate supply of vaccines, which is more than the number of Malaysians who are eligible to receive it.
Details about the vaccination schedule for foreigners will be announced in the near future.
Last week, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said the first phase of vaccinations will run from the end of February to April and will see 500,000 health and non-health frontliners get their jabs.
Covid-19 high-risk groups, such as senior citizens, individuals with comorbidities and disabled persons, will be vaccinated during the second phase from April to August, which will involve around 9.4 million people.
The third phase of the programme will see adults vaccinated from May to February next year.
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