PETALING JAYA: The first batch of the CoronaVac vaccine has arrived in the country, with the vaccine expected to be processed into more than 300,000 doses.
Developed by Sinovac Life Sciences Co Ltd, the vaccines came from the plant in Beijing, China and arrived in bulk totalling 200 litres.
The vaccines touched down at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport at 8.55am on Saturday (Feb 27) on flight MH319 which was operated by MASKargo.
The batch of vaccines was flown in on an Airbus 300 passenger-to-cargo flight, and will be taken to the Pharmaniaga manufacturing facility where it will be bottled.
Present at the airport during the vaccines’ arrival were Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong and Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
Also there were Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and China’s ambassador to Malaysia Ouyang Yujing.
Dr Wee commended the pilot for flying in the batch of vaccines.
“Well done to the female pilot, MH319 flight officer Nur Waie Hidayah Mohamad Rasidin for carrying out her duty to bring in the Sinovac vaccines.
“Hoping that the vaccine will be bottled quickly and will be given approval by the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency in the nearest time possible,” he said in a Facebook post on Saturday.
Malaysia is scheduled to obtain 14 million doses of CoronaVac in stages, which will be used to vaccinate about 22% of the population.
Khairy, who is also the coordinating minister for the National Covid-19 Immunisation programme, had also previously said the vaccine is pending approval from the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency.
The country kicked off its mass vaccination programme on Wednesday (Feb 24), with Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin being the first to be vaccinated.
There are three phases to the immunisation programme, with frontliners being vaccinated in the first phase from February to April.
The second phase runs from April and August this year, with high-risk groups and senior citizens aged 60 and above being vaccinated.
The rest of the Malaysian population aged 18 years and above will be vaccinated in the third phase, which is from May 2021 to February 2022.