Muhyiddin, Dr Noor Hisham to receive Covid-19 vaccine on Wednesday

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Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah will be among the first to receive the Covid-19 vaccine when the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme is rolled out on Wednesday ahead of schedule, said Khairy Jamaluddin.

The Coordinating Minister for National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme said the government had decided to kick off the first phase of the vaccination programme on Feb 24 instead of the earlier scheduled Feb 26.

“We have decided to bring forward the Covid-19 immunisation rollout to Wednesday, Feb 24, with the prime minister and health director-general to get their first vaccine jab at the Putrajaya Health Clinic,” he told a press conference after witnessing the arrival of the first batch of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine today.

Medical and non-medical frontliners will join Muhyiddin and Dr Noor Hisham to be vaccinated on the same day, he added.

Khairy said the efficiency and preparedness of the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) and the Pharmacy Division of the Health Ministry (MOH) in ensuring the smooth delivery and receipt of the vaccine had made it possible for the immunisation programme to be launched earlier.

“We now realise we can launch it earlier, although we had initially expected to take several days to deliver the vaccine to the vaccine storage centres. NPRA also has to assess the log list for every delivery of the vaccine; they have to check to ensure there are no defects.

Bernama

“But when we saw the efficiency of NPRA, (and) the Pharmacy Division of MOH and found that everyone is ready after inspecting the vaccine storage centres, the prime minister said, ‘let’s start early, there is no need to wait until Friday (Feb 26),” said Khairy, who is also Science, Technology and Innovation Minister.

He said 271,802 frontliners had registered for the vaccination programme.

According to him, 57.3 percent of them are medical and health personnel while 42.7 percent are from other sectors like the Malaysian Armed Forces, Royal Malaysia Police, Malaysian Volunteer Department, Prisons Department, Royal Malaysian Customs Department, and Fire and Rescue Department.

The immunisation programme will be implemented in three phases, targeting to vaccinate 80 percent of the country’s population or 26.5 million people, who will be given the jabs for free.

Registration for the vaccination programme is expected to be opened to the public on March 1, and the inoculation is on a voluntary basis.

According to the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme Handbook, as at February this year, Malaysia has secured the supply of 66.7 million doses of vaccines through the COVAX facility from five producers – Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca, Sinovac Life Sciences Co Ltd (Sinovac), CanSinoBIO and Sputnik V.

Khairy said the 312,390 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine received today would be delivered to 16 vaccine storage centres throughout the country, with six in Selangor, four in Johor, three in Kuala Lumpur, two in Penang and one in Putrajaya.

He said the vaccine for Johor would be transported overland from Singapore at 2 pm today while that for Penang would be sent by aircraft at 6 pm.

He said the second batch of Pfizer vaccine is expected to arrive on Friday, to be followed by subsequent batches every two weeks until the full delivery of Malaysia’s purchase order.

The government has signed an agreement with Pfizer (Malaysia) for the procurement of 12,799,800 doses of vaccine, covering 20 percent of the population, with two doses per person.