The Pakatan Harapan presidential council has proposed the government delay administering the second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine to allow more people to at least receive their first jab.
In a statement jointly signed by PKR president Anwar Ibrahim, Amanah president Mohamad Sabu and DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, it said the priority should be to protect the maximum number of people within the shortest timeframe.
"By delaying the administration of the second dose, more Malaysians will be given the first dose of the vaccine.
"This is particularly pressing, in view of the acute shortage of vaccines at the moment," they said.
The strategy of delaying the second dose, the trio said, has been employed in the United Kingdom and increasingly being adopted by countries such as Singapore and India.
They added that research has also shown that a longer time span between the first and second dose will yield better protection against Covid-19.
"Latest research by the University of Birmingham in collaboration with Public Health England has found that administering the Pfizer/BioNTech booster 12 weeks after the first dose rather than three weeks produced a much stronger antibody response.
"Researchers from Oxford University also showed in February that antibody responses were more than twice as strong when boosters of their vaccine were delayed for 12 weeks.
"There is a palpable shortage of vaccines and its effects are being felt throughout this nation. There is a dire need for us to adopt this scientifically proven approach," they said.
Despite Putrajaya's repeated assurances that there will be adequate vaccine supply, the Harapan leaders said the slow vaccine roll-out indicated otherwise.
"We deeply empathise with the majority of Malaysians who are frustrated by the long wait to get inoculated and the dangerously ascending risk of contracting Covid-19.
"The government has shown itself to be ostensibly ignorant and incompetent in responding to the rapid changes in the situation of the pandemic," they added.