KUALA LUMPUR: The Australian government is granting RM5.1 million to the Malaysian Red Crescent Society (MRSC) through the Australian Red Cross to aid in the delivery of Covid-19 vaccines to Malaysia's remote and hard-to-reach communities.
The funding comes from the RM8.9 million allocation for Malaysia under the Australian government's Regional Vaccine Initiative.
MRSC chairman Tan Sri Tunku Puteri Intan Safinaz Sultan Abdul Halim said the initiative would ensure that all segments of the hard-to-reach communities were safe and cared for.
"Australia's funding will support MRSC's ongoing efforts in raising awareness and delivering Covid-19 vaccination to targeted hard-to-reach groups.
"These include the indigenous and remote communities, migrants and vulnerable persons who are unable to leave their homes," she said in her speech at the launch of the funding.
Present at the launch, which was organised by the Australian High Commission, were Australian High Commissioner to Malaysia Dr Justin Lee and Deputy Health Minister Datuk Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali.
Tunku Puteri Intan Safinaz said the initiative aimed to administer additional 30,000 vaccine doses to the hard-to-reach communities this year.
"We have vaccinated about 50,000 people since January last year and we are targeting another 25,000 to 30,000 people this year and early next year.
"We are aiming to extend our services not only to vaccination services but also to health and mobile clinic services, as well as psychosocial and mental health issues pertaining to Covid-19 recovery."
She said MRSC would also focus on states with lower vaccination rates.
"In regard to states that have lower vaccination rates, MRSC will work with the state chapters and look at those with slightly lower rates in terms of vaccination of children, as well as migrant and rural communities.
"We will look at the statistics to see where the needs are and focus on those who do not have access. They can come over and get themselves vaccinated when this initiative moves from one place to another."