Malaysia starts coronavirus vaccination, PM gets first shot
Malaysia started its Covid-19 vaccination program on Wednesday, two days ahead of schedule, with Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin the first to receive the shot.
Muhyiddin and the nation’s Health director-general, as well as several medical staff were among the group to receive the first Pfizer-BioNTech shots in Putrajaya, the country’s administrative capital.
The first phase of the vaccine roll-out will run through April. It involves about 500,000 frontliners comprising health-care, defense and security personnel, as well as teachers with co-morbidities, according to the government. Malaysia received its first batch of vaccines on Sunday, when 312,390 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech shot landed at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
“I am confident that this vaccine is safe and effective,” Muhyiddin said. “So, trust and believe that the government’s efforts to ensure we break the Covid-19 chain succeeds, God willing.”
The inoculation drive will begin in Selangor, Malaysia’s richest state, from Thursday, and get underway in the nation’s federal territories including Kuala Lumpur on March 1, Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said at a separate briefing on Wednesday.
The government has secured 66.7 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine from various producers, enough to inoculate nearly 110% of the population. Pfizer remains the only manufacturer to receive the government’s conditional approval for usage, and is set to deliver a total 32 million dosages.
Malaysia is also in line to get 12.8 million doses of the AstraZeneca Plc. vaccine, 12 million doses of China’s Sinovac vaccine, 6.4 million shots of Sputnik V and 3.5 million doses from CanSinoBio. The government is evaluating a deal with Johnson & Johnson for its vaccine and hopes to finalize the term sheet soon, said Khairy.