The Malaysian government will begin rolling out the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine by the end of this month, said Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin on Thursday (4 Feb).
In a televised address, Muhyiddin said that the government has successfully acquired the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine with the first delivery of this vaccine scheduled to arrive this month as well.
He said that this vaccine will be given for free to 26.5 million Malaysians in COVID-19 National Immunisation Program which will involve three phases.
Science, Technology and Innovation Minister, Khairy Jamaluddin has been appointed as the minister to coordinate the COVID-19 National Immunisation Program.
Phase I involving more than 500,000 frontline workers — both medical and non-medical officers — will start at the end of February and is slated to take place until April.
Phase II, which will involve high-risk individuals such as elderly people with morbidity issues and persons with disabilities, will start in April and is expected to last until August.
There will be 9.4 million people receiving the vaccine during this phase.
Phase III is for all other adults over 18 years of age, expected to start from May this year to Feb 2022, or maybe earlier.
Muhyiddin said that Phase III is especially important for the formation of herd immunity.
There will be more than 600 vaccination centres across the country, converted from public facilities such as stadiums, convention centres, public halls and universities under the Emergency Ordinance 2021.
More info on the National Immunisation Program will be announced soon, said Muhyiddin.
Yesterday, opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim criticised the government for not having a clear plan on mass vaccination for the people.
In a live stream on his Facebook page, he said that the issue is worrying, seeing how Malaysia is left behind compared to neighbouring countries such as Indonesia and Singapore, both of which have commenced vaccination exercises for frontline workers beyond the medical sector.
“How do these countries have started vaccination way ahead of Malaysia and what makes us so slow in doing so?” He questioned.
Anwar said the country’s vaccination strategy has to be clear and concise.
“The government need to also clarify who are the vaccines for, how many people will be get vaccinated, how much the vaccines cost, and to whom the vaccine procurement contracts will be tendered,” Anwar stressed.