Kuala Lumpur, Feb 21 (IANS) Malaysia received its first batch of Covid-19 vaccines on Sunday, boosting its capability in the fight against the pandemic.
Some 312,390 doses of the vaccine, jointly developed by US pharmaceutical firm Pfizer Inc. and its German partner BioNTech SE., arrived at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport and were greeted by Malaysian officials, the Xinhua news agency reported.
In a press briefing following the delivery, Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the first phase of the national immunisation program will kick start earlier this week on Wednesday, ahead of schedule with Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin set to be the first to be vaccinated.
He added that the Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac’s Covid-19 vaccines are set to arrive on February 27, with other vaccines scheduled to arrive later.
As of February 2021, Malaysia has had access to a supply of 66.7 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines through the COVAX Facility and early purchases from five Covid-19 vaccine manufacturers, according to Malaysia’s government, which is targeting to inoculate at least 80 per cent of the country’s population.
The vaccination will be conducted in three phases: phase 1 for frontliners covering some half million people, phase 2 for high-risk groups and phase 3 for all adults aged 18 and above with the whole exercise expected to be completed by February next year.
Malaysia reported 2,936 new Covid-19 infections on Saturday, bringing the national total to 277,811. Another 13 deaths have been reported, pushing the death toll to 1,043.