By John Isaac
THE first phase of the country’s Covid-19 Immunisation Plan next month will see about a million Malaysians, mainly frontliners and other high-risk groups, being vaccinated first, followed by the second phase in April or May.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba said the plan is expected to roll out when the Pfizer-BioTecNTech vaccines arrive here next month.
Also included in the first phase are those who have been diagnosed with chronic diseases, including kidney, heart, and lung diseases, and diabetes.
“It will be followed by the second phase, with the arrival of 6.2 million vaccines in April and May.
“The government will provide these vaccines for free to all Malaysians, with a target of 80 per cent or 26 million people,” he said as reported by The New Straits Times.
Adham said this after the Tenggara Division Wanita Umno delegates meeting at Bandar Tenggara here, today.
Last Thursday, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin assured that the government would ensure effective, safe and adequate vaccines for at least 80 per cent of the country’s population.
He said the vaccine would be provided for free through the three immunisation phases conducted by the Health Ministry.
Meanwhile, Dr Adham who is also Tenggara member of Parliament said the government had no plans to reopen the country’s borders any time soon with the high number of Covid-19 infections worldwide.
He added that the third wave in the country recorded daily cases of between 1,000 and 2,000 per day.
“It is not yet time for Malaysia to reopen its borders and allow foreign tourists to enter with the Covid-19 cases peaking worldwide.
“It will take some time before Malaysia is able to flatten the curve since we start enforcing the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO).
“We use the RMCO as a method to balance life and livelihood, to revive the economy,” he said.
On Dec 22, Muhyiddin said he would be part of the first batch of people to get the Covid-19 vaccine inoculation in order to assure the people of its safety.
Muhyiddin said the government had also inked an agreement with AstraZeneca, a research-based biopharmaceutical company, to secure 6.4 million doses or 10 per cent more vaccines.
This means 40 per cent supply of vaccines have been secured via the agreements with the Covax Facility, Pfizer and AstraZeneca.
“The government is also in the final stage of negotiation with Sinovac, CanSino and Gamaleya to secure vaccine supply increase of more than 80 per cent of the country’s population or 26.5 million.
“The 80 per cent has surpassed our earlier target of 70 per cent (population) to get the vaccines. Based on all completed and ongoing negotiations, the government will fork out US$504.4 million (RM2.05 billion),” he said.