Malaysia expects jabs to start in February

Malaysia expects jabs to start in February

Pfizer to begin deliveries of 12.8m doses in first quarter

A doctor collects a swab sample outside Clinic Ajwa in Shah Alam, Malaysia. (Reuters Photo)
A doctor collects a swab sample outside Clinic Ajwa in Shah Alam, Malaysia. (Reuters Photo)

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia expects to receive the first batch of the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech in February, according to a report by the national news agency Bernama.

Last month, Malaysia announced it had agreed to buy 12.8 million doses of the vaccine, becoming the first country in Southeast Asia to strike a deal with the US drugmaker and its German partner.

Under the deal, Pfizer will deliver the first one million doses in the first quarter of 2021, with 1.7 million to follow in the second quarter, 5.8 million in the third and 4.3 million in the fourth quarter.

The government is also in talks with other pharmaceutical companies to secure more vaccines, Trade Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali said on Saturday.

“The government is making efforts to get a bigger supply of vaccine to meet our needs,” Bernama quoted him as saying. “The government will take the advice of the Health Ministry regarding the percentage of people who need to be vaccinated.”

In Thailand, the Public Health Ministry has said 13 million Thais will be vaccinated, free of charge, by the middle of 2021.

The country has ordered 26 million doses of the vaccine being produced by the UK-Swedish company AstraZeneca, enough for 13 million people as each person requires two shots about a month apart.

AstraZeneca has had to stage additional human trials after questions arose about data and dosages in earlier tests. However, it is now expected to receive UK regulatory approval in early January.

Pfizer and BioNTech have supply deals with several countries including the United States, Germany, Japan, Canada, Australia and Britain.

They expect to produce up to 50 million doses of vaccines globally in 2020 and up to 1.3 billion in 2021.

More than 150 potential vaccines are being developed and tested globally to stop the Covid-19 pandemic, with 48 in human trials, the World Health Organization says.

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