Malaysia to start COVID-19 vaccination drive early as first doses arrive

Malaysia to start COVID-19 vaccination drive early as first doses arrive

Workers transfer a container carrying the first batch of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines at the M
Workers transfer a container carrying the first batch of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines at the MASkargo Complex in Sepang, Malaysia on Feb 21, 2021. (Photo: Reuters/Malaysia Information Department/Famer Roheni)

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia moved up its COVID-19 inoculation drive by two days as the first batch of vaccines arrived in the Southeast Asian nation on Sunday (Feb 21).

Malaysia aims to vaccinate at least 80 per cent of its 32 million people within a year as it pushes to revive an economy that, slammed by coronavirus-related curbs, recorded its worst slump in over two decades in 2020.

It has imposed more lockdowns this year amid a fresh wave of coronavirus infections. The country has recorded 280,272 cases and 1,051 deaths.

COMMENTARY: Johor city dwellers hit hard by MCO but rural communities fare worse

Containers carrying the first batch of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines are unloaded from a plane
Containers carrying the first batch of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines are unloaded from a plane at the MASkargo Complex in Sepang, Malaysia on Feb 21, 2021. (Photo: Reuters/Malaysia Information Department/Fandy Azlan)

A total of 312,390 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine were delivered to Malaysia on Sunday morning, with more expected in coming weeks.

"The second delivery will be made on Feb 26, and we will continue to receive (Pfizer) deliveries every two weeks until it is completed," Science Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said in a virtual news conference.

Malaysia has secured 32 million doses from Pfizer and BioNTech.

READ: Students in Malaysia to return to schools from Mar 1 onwards: Education minister

Containers carrying the first batch of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines are unloaded from a plane
Containers carrying the first batch of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines are unloaded from a plane at the MASkargo Complex in Sepang, Malaysia on Feb 21, 2021. (Photo: Reuters/Malaysia Information Department/Fandy Azlan)

Vaccine doses from China's Sinovac Biotech are scheduled to be delivered in bulk on Feb 27, pending approval from local regulators, Khairy said.

The national vaccine rollout will begin Wednesday, earlier than initially scheduled, with Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and Health Ministry Director General Noor Hisham Abdullah set to receive the first doses, Khairy said.

BOOKMARK THIS: Our comprehensive coverage of the coronavirus outbreak and its developments

Download our app or subscribe to our Telegram channel for the latest updates on the coronavirus outbreak: https://cna.asia/telegram

Source: Reuters/zl

Bookmark