Malaysia secures shots to cover 110% of population

Malaysia secures shots to cover 110% of population

Plan afoot to make Russia's Sputnik shots locally

Vials and a medical syringe are seen in front of a displayed Pfizer logo in this illustration taken Oct 31 last year. (Reuters photo)
Vials and a medical syringe are seen in front of a displayed Pfizer logo in this illustration taken Oct 31 last year. (Reuters photo)

Malaysia has secured access to enough coronavirus vaccines for its entire population, as it prepares to roll out its inoculation programme by the end of this month.

The country is set to receive 66.7 million doses through the Covax facility and five producers, subject to approval by the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency, according to the immunisation programme launched by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin on Tuesday.

“The government’s strategy is to ensure as many residents in Malaysia as possible receive the vaccine, in order to save lives in the shortest time possible,” he said in a handbook detailing the programme. Muhyiddin would be among the first recipient of the shot on Feb 26, along with the frontliners, he added at the televised launch.

The government is in talks with Russia to produce the Sputnik V shots in Malaysia as it seeks to boost the number of doses that can be administered in the country, according to the handbook. So far, the government has provided conditional approval to just Pfizer-BioNtech for its vaccine.

Malaysia has signed an agreement with Pfizer for a total of 32 million doses, enough to cover 50% of the population, according to the government. The nation is also in line to get 12.8 million doses of the AstraZeneca Plc vaccine, 12 million doses of China’s Sinovac vaccine, 6.4 million shots of Sputnik V and 3.5 million doses from CanSinoBio.

“Once these vaccination efforts are completed, hopefully the economy will recover and people’s lives will improve, even as we take careful steps to prevent the pandemic from reoccurring,” Muhyiddin said.

Daily Covid-19 cases in Malaysia may fall below 1,000 in April, and can drop to double digits by end-May if people adhere to standard operating procedures, Health Director-General Noor Hisham Abdullah said at a separate briefing.

The country added 2,720 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, and Monday’s tally of 2,176 was the smallest in more than a month.

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