PETALING JAYA: The first batch of one million doses of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine will be received and given out to target groups as early as February 2021, said Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
The Prime Minister will be among the first group of individuals to receive the Covid-19 vaccine in a bid to convince the people that it is safe and effective.
This will be followed by frontliners before being given to target groups such as the elderly, those with non-communicable diseases and chronic respiratory diseases, he added.
“The government will ensure the Covid-19 vaccines procured are safe and effective, ” he said.
Muhyiddin said this in a short video on the latest developments regarding the distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine to Malaysians.
He said the Special Vaccine Supply Access Guarantee Committee, which had been set up and co-chaired by the Minister of Health and the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, would ensure the supply of vaccines could be obtained immediately.
“We are also in final negotiations with Sinovac, CanSino and Gamaleya for Covid-19 vaccine supply, ” he said.
He said the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) of the Health Ministry would continue to monitor the effectiveness and safety of vaccines once they were obtained and used.
“Once again, I would like to invite all of you to appreciate and cultivate new norms in everyday life even after we receive vaccines.
“We need to adapt to the new norms because the virus is already in the community, ” he said.
Muhyiddin also reminded the people to adhere to the standard operating procedures (SOP) that have been set and to practise frequent hand washing, wearing of face masks and maintaining physical distancing.
On another matter, Muhyiddin said the government had signed an agreement with pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca for the procurement of an additional 10% or 6.4 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine.
This meant the government had secured 40% guarantee of vaccine supply through joint agreements with Covax, Pfizer and AstraZeneca.
The government previously signed preliminary agreements with Covax and Pfizer for the procurement of the Covid-19 vaccine to secure a vaccine supply of 30% of the population.
“The government is also in final negotiations with Sinovac, CanSino and Gamaleya to secure a vaccine supply increase of more than 80% or 26. million of the country’s total population, ” he said.
The 80% supply exceeds the government’s initial target to provide vaccines to 70% of Malaysians.
The Prime Minister said through all the negotiations and agreements that had been and will be signed, the government will spend a total of US$504.4mil (RM2.05bil).
Elaborating, Muhyiddin said the agreements with Sinovac, CanSino and Gamaleya would also provide added value to the local science and technology sectors which would benefit the people and the country’s development.
“This includes carrying out vaccine bottling processes in the country, research and development, as well as knowledge sharing and technology transfer, ” he said.
The government, in the meantime, will continue to hold talks with other pharmaceutical companies to ensure the country has adequate access to vaccine supply as soon as possible. — Bernama