Vaccines for 1.3mil Penangites


(Top) The first batch of Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccines landed safely at the Penang International Airport in Bayan Lepas on Sunday. — Photos: ZHAFARAN NASIB/The Star

THE arrival of the Covid-19 vaccines in Penang, with a population of 1.78mil, is an important phase in the fight against the pandemic.

Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said Penang targeted 1.3mil Penangites to receive the vaccines in stages.

The first batch of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines arrived in three boxes containing about 16,000 doses at the Penang International Airport at 5.35pm on Sunday.

They were flown in by a Boeing 747 Cathay Pacific Cargo CX- 079 aircraft that landed at the tarmac of the cargo section.

Malaysia Airport Berhad workers unloaded the vaccines in stages under the watchful eyes of a special police force unit. Chow said the arrival of the vaccines marked the start of the mass vaccination programme in the state, with hopes that it would lead to the road of recovery.

“We have very limited success in winning the battle against the pandemic over the past one year and we have to pay a heavy price as many have died or have been infected by the virus and consequently our socio-economic development and the people’s livelihood have been severely affected.

“While continuing with the 3-Ts strategy of Testing, Tracing and Treatment in our fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, the mass

vaccination programme gives us hope that we can be on the road to recovery, ” he told reporters at the airport.

Calling upon all Penangites to support the mass vaccination programme, he hoped the mass vaccination would be successful in saving lives and livelihood.

He said more information on the programme would be shared with the people to ensure bigger participation.

Chow added that the state government was committed to giving its full cooperation to the Federal authorities to ensure that the vaccination programme in Penang would be carried out successfully.

Besides Chow, deputy Health Minister Datuk Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali, state health exco member Dr Norlela Ariffin, state police

chief Comm Datuk Sahabudin Abd Manan, state health director Datuk Dr Asmayani Khalib and several Penang leaders were also present at the airport to witness the arrival of the vaccines.

Dr Asmayani said Chow would be chosen as the first person in the state to receive the vaccine.

“This is to show that Penang is giving its full commitment to the Health Ministry’s plans in the national immunisation programme, ” she said.

Meanwhile, Dr Noor Azmi said he was confident that the national immunisation programme could improve the antibodies of the Malaysian people to fight against the pandemic.

He called on all Malaysians not worry about the vaccines and urged the public not to listen to any rumours or fake news about the vaccines.

“I hope the public will not worry. When the Health Ministry calls on the public to take the vaccine, we must be ready because the vaccine can help flatten the curve of infection, ” he added.

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