Living in the midst of a global pandemic has had citizens wondering if there would be a vaccine soon, and if it will be safe. Well, good news! Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin announced today that he will be one of the first few to receive the Covid-19 vaccine as soon as it is made available next year. Muhyiddin explained in a video that this was to reassure the public that the vaccines obtained were safe and effective for use. The Premier also confirmed that the government had signed an agreement with AstraZeneca, a UK pharmaceutical company, to obtain another 6.4 million doses of the vaccine.
This will meet the immunisation requirements of another 10% of the population, making it the third agreement after signing with Covax for 10% of the population’s vaccine needs, and Pfizer for 20% of the nation’s requirement last month. In total, vaccines for up to 40% of the people have been bought from Covax, Pfizer, and AstraZeneca. “The government is also now in the final stages of negotiations with Sinovac, CanSino and Gamaleya to acquire more vaccines to cover 80% of the population, or 26.5 million people,” Muhyiddin said in an interview with FMT. In procuring the vaccines, the government would be spending a sum of RM2.05 billion.
According to the Prime Minister, the agreements made with the three companies would add value to Malaysia’s science and technology sector, contributing to the nation’s development in the long term. Adding to that, he stated that Putrajaya was planning to negotiate with more pharmaceutical companies to ensure a sufficient supply of free vaccines for all Malaysians. The special Vaccine Supply Access Guarantee Committee – co-chaired by Health Minister Dr. Adham Baba, and Science, Technology, and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, were working to ensure the vaccines could be procured as soon as possible.
The first batch of one million doses are expected to arrive earliest by February next year, he said. It will be administered to target groups, namely frontliners, the elderly, and those with non-communicable diseases.