By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Feb 4: Some 500,000 frontliners including healthcare workers will be the first group in the country to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccines when the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme is rolled out, expected at the end of February.
Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin emphasised that the vaccine is a ray of light for Malaysia to win the war against Covid-19 which outbreak has yet to be contained with daily cases exceeding 5,000 even though most of the country was into the fourth week of a strict partial lockdown.
“The first batch of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine which demonstrated a high efficiency rate of 95 per cent is scheduled to arrive this month.
“As such, I am delighted to inform you that the government will start rolling out the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme at the end of this month.
“The National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme is targeting to cover 80 per cent of the population in Malaysia or 26.5 million individuals in Malaysia who will receive the vaccines for free,” he said in a special address to the nation via a live telecast today.
The immunisation programme, Muhyiddin explained will involve three phases with the first phase, which is expected to run until April, will involve 500,000 frontliners including healthcare workers and non-healthcare workers.
“This phase is very important to protect our frontliners in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic,” he added.
The second phase, he continued, will involve high-risk groups including senior citizens and vulnerable people aged 60 and above with comorbid conditions like heart disease, obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure.
“People with disabilities (OKU) are also included in this phase. An estimated 9.4 million people will receive the vaccine under this second phase, which will run from April to August 2021,” he said.
The remaining recipients of adults aged 18 years and above, Muhyiddin emphasised, will be in the third phase which will start from May 2021 to February 2022.
“This phase is important to form group protection or herd immunity which will in turn further control this pandemic,” he added. — DayakDaily