Malaysia makes COVID-19 vaccinations compulsory for government employees

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Medical workers wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) speak to people outside a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) assessment centre, in Shah Alam, Malaysia August 30, 2021. REUTERS/Lim Huey Teng

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KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 30 (Reuters) - Malaysia said on Thursday it would now be mandatory for all federal government employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19, with exceptions only to be allowed on health grounds.

The announcement comes as the country looks to boost vaccination rates with the aim of inoculating 80% of the population by the end of the year.

Malaysia has one of the fastest vaccine rollouts in Southeast Asia, with 61% of its 32 million population already fully vaccinated.

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In a statement, the Public Service Department said vaccinations would be made compulsory for federal staff in order to boost public confidence and ensure government services can be delivered smoothly.

Nearly 98% of civil servants were already vaccinated, while 16,902 or 1.6% have yet to register under the country's inoculation programme, the department said. Malaysia has around 1.6 million public servants.

Unvaccinated employees have been given until Nov. 1 to complete their inoculations, while those who are unable to be vaccinated must submit health information verified by a government medical officer.

Those who fail to get vaccinated in time will face disciplinary action, the department said.

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Reporting by Rozanna Latiff; Editing by Kim Coghill

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