GEORGE TOWN: The first batch of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid19 vaccines has arrived safely at the Penang International Airport (PIA) in Bayan Lepas on Sunday (Feb 21).
The Boeing 747 Cathay Pacific Cargo CX- 079 aircraft landed at the tarmac of the PIA cargo section at about 5.35pm.
Malaysia Airport Berhad workers were unloading the vaccines in stages under the watchful eyes of a special police force unit.
Three boxes containing about 16,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccines were slowly transferred to the ground staff of the airport.
Earlier, an entourage of cars escorting several state government officials were seen entering the compound of the international airport.
Among those present were Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow, 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.
On Sunday morning, the first batch of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccines touched down at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang.
The vaccines’ journey from the Pfizer plant in Belgium was handled by pharmaceutical company Pfizer and DHL under a joint partnership for its international transportation.
The shipment of vaccines left Puurs in Belgium and was in transit at the Leipzig Halle Airport in Germany, before continuing its journey to Singapore for distribution to Asia-Pacific countries, including Malaysia.
The Health Ministry, on behalf of the Malaysian government, had entered into an agreement with Pfizer (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd on Jan 11 this year for the purchase of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines.
Chow had said the first phase of Covid-19 vaccination in Penang will involve more than 30,000 frontliners.
“I hope that the process will run smoothly with equal distribution to the state from the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry, which is the main coordinator of the programme.
“The Penang government will give its full commitment to the Federal Government in regards to the implementation of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme.
“I was informed by the state Health Department and state National Security Council (NSC) that Penang will receive Covid-19 vaccine in stages and will be placed in two hospitals.
“The state government wants to ensure that 1.3 million (70%) Penangites who are estimated to receive the vaccine, get it in order to form herd immunity in the state, ” he said.