Dr Wong said, Phase 1 is estimated to start in the second quarter of this year with priority for frontliners and high-risk individuals.
The second phase, estimated to start in the second or third quarter of the year, will be for individuals at moderate risk and other essential workers.
The third phase, estimated to be in the third or fourth quarter of the year, is for the public.
“The Covid-19 vaccine will be distributed over several months. Not all individuals will be vaccinated immediately. This is because there is a limited supply of the vaccine. Many countries do not have sufficient supply of vaccine to inoculate the entire population in 2021.
"Therefore it is important for the vulnerable to be vaccinated first,” he said.
Dr Wong said frontliners like those working at the National Isolation Centre, airport and land control posts as well as high risk individuals such senior citizens and those with chronic diseases including heart and lung problems, diabetes and obesity, will be given priority in the first and second phases.
“The Covid-19 vaccine is important, especially for senior citizens and individuals who have chronic diseases because they are more at risk. Once a sufficient supply of approved vaccine is available, the public will be vaccinated.
“The vaccine is an easy, safe and effective approach to protect individuals from infectious diseases. Vaccine safety is a priority for the MoH. Individuals who are vaccinated will not only safeguard themselves, but also their family and the public. Those eligible and do not want to be vaccinated can expose themselves and their family to the risk of contracting COVID-19,” he said.
In ensuring that the vaccine is safe, Dr Wong revealed the assessment and selection process for the COVID-19 vaccine in the country is carried out by the COVID-19 Vaccine Technical Committee, comprising doctors, scientists and pharmacists from specialised fields.
The assessment of vaccines began in mid-2020. The committee has conducted assessments such as vaccine safety and efficacy, as well as ensuring the identity, strength, quality and originality of the product comply with established specifications, he said adding that the committee’s investigation uses data and information obtained from scientific journals, media reports and bilateral discussions with vaccine companies. - The Borneo Bulletin/Asian News Network