SEPANG, Feb 21 — Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Health director-general Tan Sri Dr. Noor Hisham Abdullah will be among the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine when the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme is rolled out on Wednesday ahead of schedule, said Khairy Jamaluddin.
The Coordinating Minister for National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme said the government had decided to kick off the first phase of the vaccination program on Feb 24 instead of the earlier scheduled Feb 26.
“We have decided to bring forward the COVID-19 immunization rollout to Wednesday, Feb 24, with the prime minister and health director-general to get their first vaccine jab at the Putrajaya Health Clinic,” he told a press conference after witnessing the arrival of the first batch of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine here today.
Medical and non-medical frontliners will join Muhyiddin and Dr Noor Hisham to be vaccinated on the same day, he added.
Khairy said the efficiency and preparedness of the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) and the Pharmacy Division of the Health Ministry (MOH) in ensuring the smooth delivery and receipt of the vaccine had made it possible for the immunisation programme to be launched earlier.
“We now realise we can launch it earlier although we had initially expected to take several days to deliver the vaccine to the vaccine storage centres. NPRA also has to assess the log list for every delivery of the vaccine; they have to check to ensure there are no defects.
“But when we saw the efficiency of NPRA, (and) the Pharmacy Division of MOH and found that everyone is ready after inspecting the vaccine storage centres, the prime minister said, ‘let’s start early, there is no need to wait until Friday (Feb 26),” said Khairy, who is also Science, Technology and Innovation Minister.
He said 271,802 frontliners had registered for the vaccination programme.
According to him, 57.3 per cent of them are medical and health personnel while 42.7 per cent are from other sectors like the Malaysian Armed Forces, Royal Malaysia Police, Malaysian Volunteer Department, Prisons Department, Royal Malaysian Customs Department, and Fire and Rescue Department.