KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin is ready to roll up his sleeve and be part of the first batch to get the Covid-19 vaccine inoculation in a move to assure the people of its safety.
He announced this in a televised message, saying that the frontliners would be the next group to get the jab.
“After the frontliners, the vaccine will be given to the target groups comprising high risk groups including the senior citizens, those with noncommunicable diseases (NCD) and chronic respiratory illnesses,” said the prime minister.
Muhyiddin also said the government had just inked an agreement with AstraZeneca, a research-based biopharmaceutical company, to secure 6.4 million doses or 10 per cent more vaccines.
“This means a guarantee to 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.
The prime minister added the agreements with Sinovac, CanSino and Gamaleya would add value to the country’s science and technology sector that would benefit the people and country’s development.
This includes vaccine bottling process in Malaysia; research and development as well as knowledge sharing and technology transfer.
Muhyiddin said the government would continue negotiating with other pharmaceutical companies to ensure Malaysia would have enough supply of vaccines.
“We will make certain that the acquired vaccines are safe and effective.”
The Vaccine Supplies Access Guarantee Special Committee, co-chaired by the Health Minister and the Science, Techonology and Innovation Minister, he said would ensure the vaccines could be acquired fast.
The government expected to get and administer the first supply of one million vaccines from Pfizer to the target groups as early as February 2021, the prime minister said.
The Health Ministry’s National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA, he said, would continue keeping tab on the effectiveness and safety of the vaccines.
Muhyiddin also renewed his call on the importance of embracing and culturalising the new normal in one’s daily life even after one had been vaccinated.
“We must adapt to the new normal because the virus is already in the community,” he said, citing frequent hand washing with soap, wearing face mask, and keeping a safe distance from others.
“InsyaAllah (God’s willing), we can face the challenges together.”
Muhyiddin also said the rising number of Covid-19 cases in certain areas had not dampened the government’s efforts to restore the country’s economy and social activities to what they were before the pandemic.
The government is aware how important the battle against Covid-19 in the efforts to ensure things would recover at a fast pace, he added.