KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 24 — The National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme officially began today with Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin being the first individual in the country to receive the Pfizer vaccine at about 3pm.
The implementation of the three-phase program, which started two days earlier than originally scheduled on Feb 26, will see more than 500,000 frontliners receive the vaccine during the first phase which will last until April.
Apart from Muhyiddin, also scheduled to receive the vaccine today are the Health director-general Tan Sri Dr. Noor Hisham Abdullah and four other staff from the Ministry of Health.
They will receive the vaccine at the Presint 11 Health Clinic, Putrajaya, which is one of more than 500 vaccination centres (PPV) identified nationwide.
On Sunday, a total of 312,390 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine safely arrived in the country, with some being flown to Kuala Lumpur and Penang, while others were transported overland to Johor. The vaccine was brought in from Singapore which is the hub for distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine to Asia Pacific countries.
To date, 571,802 frontline members have registered for the immunisation with 57.3 per cent being medical and healthcare personnel, while the remaining 42.7 per cent are members of the security sector including the Malaysian Armed Forces, Royal Malaysia Police, People’s Volunteer Corps, Prisons Department, Royal Malaysian Customs Department and the Fire and Rescue Department of Malaysia.
The second phase of the programme will run from April to August, involving senior citizens aged 60 and above as well as vulnerable groups with morbidity issues and persons with disabilities, while the third phase is scheduled from May this year to February 2022 for all those aged 18 and above not vaccinated before.
The programme aims to provide immunisation against the COVID-19 infection to about 80 per cent of the country’s population, both locals and foreigners.
Malaysia has obtained 66.7 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine through the COVAX Facility, from five manufacturers. The vaccines are Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca, Sinovac, CanSinoBIO and Sputnik V.
Since the first case of COVID-19 was reported in the country on Jan 25 last year, a total of 288,229 people have been infected with the virus as at Feb 23 (yesterday), with 1,076 deaths recorded for the same period.