First batch of Covid-19 vaccine arrives in Malaysia

Dr Noor Hisham (left) and Dr Adham (right) giving the thumbs up to the Covid-19 vaccine at the KLIA’s ACC here today. Screenshot taken from Radio Television Malaysia (RTM) live streaming today (Feb 21, 2021).

By Adrian Lim

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 21: In the first sign of hope in breaking the chain of Covid-19 infection in Malaysia, the first batch of Pfizer-BioNtech Covid-19 vaccine containing 312,390 doses has been safely delivered to Malaysia.

The flight transporting the Covid-19 vaccine, an Airbus 300-330 aircraft from Malaysia Airlines touched down at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport’s (KLIA) Advanced Cargo Centre (ACC) at 10am today.

It departed from Puurs, Belgium where one of Pfizer’s manufacturing factories is located and transited at Leipzig Halle Airport, Germany before arriving at Singapore’s Changi Airport.

From there, it was later flown into Malaysia via KLIA.

MAS Cargo’s personnel transporting the Covid-19 vaccine out from the aircraft at KLIA. Screenshot taken from Radio Television Malaysia (RTM) live streaming today (Feb 21, 2021).

Among those present to receive the first batch of the Covid-19 vaccine were Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba; Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin; Transport Minister Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong; Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah and Malaysia Airlines Bhd (MAB) group chief executive officer Captain Izham Ismail.

The first phase of the immunisation programme, to be implemented until April will involve frontliners, followed by the second phase from April to August, for high-risk groups such as senior citizens aged 60 and above and those with morbidity problems.

The third phase, from May to February 2022 is for those 18 years and above.

In Sarawak, the vaccination programme will also be carried out in three phases.

The aircraft transporting the Covid-19 vaccine from Belgium arriving at KLIA’s ACC this morning. Screenshot taken from Radio Television Malaysia (RTM) live streaming today (Feb 21, 2021).

Nonetheless, the state’s strategy is to leap from the current containment phase to vaccination phase, bypassing the horrendous numbers of positive cases and deaths related to mitigation phase seen in Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah, according to Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian.

Hence, he said Sarawak wants to speed up and complete all three phases of free vaccination for more than 2,019,413 Sarawakians by August 2021 instead of following the national vaccination programme by February 2022.

Phase one of the vaccination programme in Sarawak will involve approximately 97,000 frontliners, from end of February to April 2021, phase two for approximately 929,000 high risk groups, from end of March to August 2021 and phase three which involved approximately 992,000 people above age 18 years old which will be implemented by the end of March to August 2021. —DayakDaily