How is Malaysia’s Daily Vaccination Rate Compared to the World?
I am sure you would have read the news on the government’s relentless drive to increase the vaccination rate in Malaysia. Recently, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob has said that Malaysia currently exceeds the world average for daily vaccinations per capita. What does this mean? What is daily vaccination per capita? When will we achieve herd immunity? This article will explore Malaysia’s context in the Covid-19 vaccination process and determine the truth of what the government is saying.
What is Daily Vaccination per Capita? Is it a reliable measure to be used as a comparison between countries?
First, let’s define what is daily vaccination per capita. It is basically how many vaccinations are being administered on a given day divided by the total population of the country. If a country has a population of 5 million and it administers 50,000 vaccinations on that day, then that country would have a daily vaccination per capita of 0.01 (50,000 / 5,000,000 = 0.01).
Daily vaccination per capita is used as a tool to compare because different countries have different populations. For example, it is not fair to compare the daily vaccinations of a country like United States to Singapore due to the fact that United States is a much bigger country. Of course, the US would have much higher daily vaccinations. Hence, to compare the performance of the vaccination process across countries, the daily vaccinations are divided by the population of the country to come up with a standardised number.
The University of Oxford compiles a similar statistic on this but terms it as Daily Covid-19 vaccine doses administered per 100 people. The difference here is that this statistic evaluates how many daily vaccinations are administered for every 100 people in the country. What this does is that it takes the daily vaccination per capita and multiply it by 100. For example, a country that has daily vaccination per capita of 0.01 (50,000 / 5,000,000) would have daily vaccination per 100 people of 1. This makes it easier to compare across countries with a bigger magnitude of numbers.
How is Malaysia’s Daily Vaccination Rate Compared to the World? It is now one of the world’s highest
Good news. Malaysia currently has one of the highest vaccination rates in the world with daily vaccination per 100 people of 1.0. As of 9 July 2021, Malaysia is currently ranked as the 11th highest country in terms of daily vaccination rates. Singapore ranks first at 1.49, followed by Canada (1.3), Sweden (1.3), Greenland(1.2) and Denmark (1.1). It is higher than the world average of 0.5.
Based on these numbers, it can be seen that indeed Malaysia’s program currently is rated one of the quickest in the world now.
How has the vaccination progress been for Malaysia? It’s at its highest pace now compared to previous rounds.
Here again, Malaysia is currently at the peak rate of vaccinations with 1.0 currently being the highest. Based on the data, daily vaccination rates have more or less remained steady from the start of the program in Feb 2021 until the middle of May 2021 at around an average of 0.07. With the commencement of vaccinations for the elderly in May 2021, daily vaccination rates started to ramp up to 0.3 by the beginning of Jun 2021. Astra Zeneca vaccine appointments opened up for voluntary registration for all Malaysians during this period also, pushing the daily vaccination rate to 0.7 by the end of Jun 2021. In the recent week, the push for more vaccinations was in full effect with the opening up of more centers of vaccination.
Can Malaysia achieve higher daily vaccination rates? Theoretically, yes but probably not as high as Singapore and China.
Theoretically, Malaysia’s current daily vaccination rate of 1.0 could be ramped up further. The government has estimated that it can ramp up vaccinations to 400,000 per day which will translate to about 1.3 in August 2021. Is this feasible? I think it depends ultimately whether the current high vaccination rates can be sustained as the Astra Zeneca vaccinations are still in effect. However, I don’t foresee Malaysia achieving vaccination rates similar to China and Singapore where at their peak, they registered about 1.6 and 1.5 respectively. If anything, Malaysia will resemble more of Sweden in terms of vaccination rates.