by LYDIA NATHAN / pic by BLOOMBERG
MALAYSIA is set to receive three more shipments of the Pfizer Inc-BioNTech SE Covid-19 vaccine this month.
Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar said the three shipments will include 128,700 doses on April 21; 36,270 doses on April 22; and 12,870 doses on April 23, totalling to 177,840 doses.
The second phase of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (NIP) began yesterday and will involve more than 9,000 senior citizens, individuals with comorbidity and people with disabilities (PwDs).
To date, 1,438,974 senior citizens, 136,798 PwDs and 2,029,297 individuals with comorbidity have registered for the NIP.
The second phase of the programme will commence at 30 Public Vaccination Centres in Kedah, Melaka, Negri Sembilan, Pahang, Penang, Perlis, Terengganu, Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan, complementing the current 600 centres in use.
“There are 9,916 people scheduled to receive vaccinations on the first day of Phase 2 of the programme.
“Dewan 2020 in Perlis will see the largest number of people being vaccinated, with a total of 924,” Khairy said during a media briefing yesterday.
He said the second phase for Selangor will begin on April 26 as the state is still undergoing its first phase of vaccinating frontliners.
“The first phase of the vaccination is still ongoing in Selangor with 258,783 frontliners to be vaccinated, with the majority waiting for their second dose. Additionally, 888 individuals are expected to receive the vaccine at
14 public hospitals in seven states that were designated to be special centres.
“The individuals are from four categories, namely those with a history of allergies but are able to take the vaccine; immunocompromised patients; those at risk of bleeding due to diseases or are taking specific medications; and those deemed suitable to be vaccinated such as chronic patients, haemodialysis patients, pregnant women, and psychiatric patients,” he said.
On the concern over the effectiveness of the Covid-19 vaccine, Khairy said the nine healthcare workers that tested positive despite receiving the vaccine was a very small percentage compared to those who received the vaccine and were not affected by the virus.
“The vaccine is effective, because out of the 272,019 fully vaccinated healthcare workers, the infection rate ended up being 0.003% only. And the nine infected individuals had no severe or even mild symptoms, they just tested positive,” he said.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba said the efficacy of the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was at 65%, increasing to 95% two weeks after the second, proving it was effective.
Khairy said for May, Malaysia is scheduled to receive 1,038,960 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and 500,000 doses of the Sinovac Biotech Ltd vaccine from China.
“The supply will be sent in batches on a weekly basis. On top of that, we also have the Sinovac supply from Pharmaniaga Bhd ready in bulk form of 1,800 litres that can produce up to 2.6 million doses.
“However, this supply from Pharmaniaga is still pending approval from the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency,” he noted.