‘Vaccination plan on track’


PETALING JAYA: The National Vaccination Programme will kick off exactly as planned as everything is in order, with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine confirmed to arrive in time for doses to be delivered to all vaccination stations, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba (pic).

He stated it is “no more just talk but all action” as the government is fully committed to ensuring Malaysia reaches herd immunity as soon as possible.

Herd immunity is when a majority of the population is given immunisation, crippling the virus’s rate of infection and causing a natural breakdown in the chain of infection.

Speaking to The Star, Dr Adham said that the first round of vaccination will begin on Feb 26 at 600 vaccination stations nationwide involving 4,200 vaccinators.

He also said that the Cabinet has agreed to include foreigners residing in Malaysia in the vaccination programme for free and this will make things easier in reaching as many people as possible.

Dr Adham, however, assured Malaysians that the free vaccination of foreigners, especially foreign workers, will not be a cost borne by taxpayers but will be paid for by specially set up funds from the private sector.

He said that the non-medical logistics of the National Vaccination Programme will be coordinated by the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry in cooperation with various other ministries to ensure a smooth implementation.

“We are now fully geared up for the National Vaccination Programme – no more just talk but it will be all action from now on.

“The first phase of the vaccination will include the frontliners, with the priority in that group being the 4,200 vaccinators, ” he said.

“The vaccinators will be vaccinated before the kick-off on Feb 26 at 600 vaccination stations nationwide for the rest of the frontliners.”

Dr Adham added that the second phase will be vaccination for the vulnerable group – the elderly, the sickly and the chronically ill.

He said in these two groups – frontliners and vulnerable groups – foreigners who are either working in the medical sector or chronically ill will be also be included.

“Foreigners in these groups residing in Malaysia will be vaccinated too. We are extremely happy to state that we are expecting the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to arrive earlier and in time for the National Vaccination Programme.

“We are also quite sure that if everything goes exactly as planned, by the end of the National Vaccination Programme, at least 80% (26.5 million) of the population of Malaysia would be vaccinated and herd immunity can then be achieved. “This will help to contain the infection and break the chain of transmission, ” said Dr Adham, who is a medical doctor.

He explained that the authorities are now collating all the information of those who will be vaccinated in the first two phases and will contact them manually and digitally to ensure they will be present and ready for the vaccination appointments.

He pointed out that the government has managed to get more than an adequate supply of vaccines needed for the Malaysian population to reach herd immunity.

Dr Adham, however, cautioned the people from letting their guard down just because vaccination is on the horizon.

“There must be a continuance of strict SOP as the effects of the vaccination will take time. Collectively, the Health Ministry’s National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency will monitor the adverse effects worldwide.

“However, as the vaccination has proven successful so far in various countries, we hope and pray for the best, ” said Dr Adham.

On Feb 4, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin described the vaccine as a “ray of hope” for the nation in its fight against Covid-19 with the government having inked the deal to gain the vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech last November.

“The national Covid-19 immunisation programme is the largest vaccination programme ever to be carried out in the country, ” said Muhyiddin.

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