Malaysia will receive its first batch of COVID-19 vaccines, made by U.S. and German drug makers Pfizer and BioNTech, on February 21 and start its vaccination campaign five days later, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said Tuesday.
Muhyiddin said he will be the first to receive a dose of the vaccine when the campaign starts on February 26.
“This comprehensive program aims to ensure herd immunity in the community so we can stop the spread of COVID-19 infections and end the pandemic,” said Muhyiddin at the launch of the vaccination program manual.
Malaysia has seen a sharp spike in coronavirus infections in recent weeks after the epidemic largely slowed down most of 2020. In total, over 260,000 COVID-19 cases have been reported, the third highest in Southeast Asia after Indonesia and the Philippines and 975 deaths.
The Southeast Asian country has announced that it will supply at least 80% of its 32 million people within a year and has secured more than enough vaccines to meet the target.
In addition to the contract with Pfizer and BioNTech, Malaysia has also signed supply contracts with the British company AstraZeneca, the Russian Gamaleya Research Institute and the Chinese companies Sinovac Biotech Ltd and CanSino Biologics.
Muhyiddin said earlier this month that the first phase of the vaccine’s roll out will involve 500,000 frontline workers from February to April, followed by 9.4 million high-risk people who will be vaccinated between April and August.
A third and final phase will include more than 16 million adults over the age of 18 and last from May to February next year.
The government has announced that it will expand its free COVID-19 vaccination program to all foreigners living in the country. However, this priority is given to the Malaysians.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and published from a syndicated feed.)