Malaysia’s Covid-19 vaccination effort is performing worse than some poorer countries, said former energy, science, technology, environment and climate change minister Yeo Bee Yin.
Yeo noted that the country was behind the likes of Chile, Argentina, Mexico and Kazakhstan, all of which have a lower gross domestic product (GDP) per capita compared to Malaysia.
For example, she pointed out that more than 40 percent of Chile’s population has received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine while Kazakhstan has reached 10 percent.
In contrast, she said less than four percent of Malaysia’s population has received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.
This was based on information from Our World in Data funded by the UK’s Department of Health and Social Care, Quadrature Climate Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It was previously also funded by the World Health Organisation.
“We’ve fallen behind not only when compared with developed countries and developing countries that are richer than us but also those that are poorer than us.
“Therefore, the explanation of low vaccination rate due entirely on income level does not hold water,” she added.
In Southeast Asia, Yeo noted Malaysia was also behind Singapore, Cambodia, Laos and Indonesia.
However, it is ahead of Brunei, Myanmar, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam.
“Now, in all fairness, can we still tap our shoulder and say, ‘no worries, we are doing well in vaccination and ignore the naysayers?’
“The first step into improving anything in life is to recognise that there are shortcomings, then find out why and learn from those who are doing better than us.
“We urgently need to find ways to catch up so that together we can see the end of the tunnel by end of the year as targeted by the government,” she said.
The Bakri MP called for bipartisan efforts to improve the vaccination process.
“Although we are from the opposite side of the political divide, I don’t wish to see the government fail in this.
“In fact, the whole of society should rally behind this cause to ensure the success of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme,” she added.