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Malaysia Steps Up COVID Vaccination Plans With AstraZeneca Agreement | News on the coronavirus pandemic

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Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said the government is also in the final stages of vaccine negotiations with Russia and China.

Malaysia has signed an agreement to purchase 6.4 million doses of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine and is in negotiations with China and Russia to obtain more vaccines, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said in a video speech on Tuesday. , as the country continues to grapple with a third wave of coronavirus cases.

The government signed an agreement to secure 12.8 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech in November and is also sourcing vaccines from the World Health Organization’s COVAX program.

“This means that we have secured vaccine supplies to cover 40 percent (of the population),” Muhyiddin said.

The government is currently in final negotiations with Chinese manufacturers Sinovac and CanSino Biologics as well as the Russian institute Gamaleya to cover its remaining needs and hopes to have enough vaccines to inoculate 83% of people in the country.

Malaysia is grappling with a third wave of coronavirus, but has allowed stores and other businesses to remain open as long as they adhere to health protocols such as wearing masks and installing plastic shields [Lim Huey Teng/Reuters]

“It will not only be vaccine procurement, but will also include filling and finishing capacity (putting vaccines into vials) in Malaysia and possible R&D links,” said Khairy Jamaluddin, Malaysian minister. science, technology and innovation, on Twitter.

The total cost of the purchases is currently around $ 504.4 million, according to the government.

After controlling the coronavirus for much of the year, Malaysia struggled with a third wave of infections, which accelerated after a state election in Borneo state of Sabah in September, then spread to Kuala Lumpur and its surroundings.

Clusters of cases have emerged in prisons and detention centers as well as factories, with the country’s largest outbreak emerging from crowded dormitories housing migrant workers employed by Top Glove, the world’s largest manufacturer of medical gloves.

Vaccination schedule

State News Agency Bernama said Muhyiddin, 73 and treated for pancreatic cancer two years ago, would be among the first to receive the vaccine in a bid to boost public confidence in the vaccination. Front liners and other high-risk groups, including the elderly and those with underlying health conditions, will also be first in line.

Khairy says the vaccination schedule, which the government hopes to announce in January, is also dependent on approval and registration by the National Drug Regulatory Agency (NPRA). Authorities aim to secure sufficient stock to cover Malaysians, as well as non-nationals who live and work in the country, he said.

COVID-19 outbreak linked to workers at world’s largest glove maker has become largest cluster of cases in Malaysia [File: Lim Huey Teng/Reuters]

As part of the Pfizer deal, Malaysia expects to receive one million doses in the first quarter of 2021, with vaccinations set to begin in February. The remaining doses of the vaccine, which require ultra-cold storage, will arrive in the following quarters.

Neighbor Singapore took delivery of its first batch of Pfizer vaccine on Monday.

Malaysia reported new cases of the coronavirus on Monday, the third highest daily infection on record since the pandemic began in January. The total number of cases now stands at 95,327 and 438 people have died from COVID-19.


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