Malaysia sets February 2022 target to complete COVID-19 vaccine rollout

Malaysia sets February 2022 target to complete COVID-19 vaccine rollout

(Reuters) – Malaysia’s government said on Thursday it expects to complete its COVID-19 immunisation programme by February next year, covering 80% of its population of about 32 million people.

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said in a televised address that the first phase of the vaccine rollout from February to April will involve 500,000 frontline workers, followed by 9.4 million high-risk individuals who will be vaccinated between April and August.

A third and final phase will involve more than 16 million adults aged 18 and older, and will run from May to February next year, Muhyiddin said.

On Tuesday, the government said the first batch of the vaccine jointly developed by U.S. drugmaker Pfizer and German partner BioNTech is on track for delivery on Feb. 26.

Malaysia has signed two deals with Pfizer to secure 25 million doses of the vaccine, besides agreements to buy 18.4 million doses of other vaccines produced by Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute and China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd.

The Southeast Asian nation had also secured two separate vaccine shipments from AstraZeneca PLC>, including one arranged under the COVAX facility.

Malaysia has seen a sharp spike in coronavirus infections in recent weeks, after having largely reined in the epidemic for most of last year.

The surge in cases has pushed the cumulative total past 220,000, including 809 deaths, as of Wednesday.

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