Khairy Expects Logistical Hurdles With Covid-19 Vaccine Rollout

Khairy Jamaluddin says the government has procured low-dead volume (LDV) syringes to ensure that six doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine can be extracted from each vial, instead of five with ordinary syringes.

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 17 — The government foresees logistics as one of the challenges with the national Covid-19 vaccine rollout that will be launched with the ultra-cold Pfizer-BioNTech jab, Khairy Jamaluddin said today.

During a press conference on the Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF), the science, technology and innovation minister said that the government has to ensure that the storage of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at between minus 70 and minus 80 degrees Celsius is seamless to ensure there’s no wastage of the vaccine. 

“As far as challenges are concerned, the first one will be obviously logistics,” Khairy said.

“We’ve given a lot of thought about the logistics movement of the vaccine and obviously we will start on the 21st, when the Pfizer vaccine comes where it will be distributed throughout the country.”

On January 29, the government successfully maintained the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine cold chain during a dry run of delivery to the interiors of Sarawak. During the dry run, saline water was flown at minus 70 degrees Celsius from Amsterdam, near Pfizer’s manufacturing plant in Puurs, Belgium, to Singapore, Subang, and Kuching. 

On February 21, Malaysia will be receiving a larger shipment of 312,390 doses of the Pfizer vaccine. However, Khairy said that they are still finalising the number of doses of the Pfizer shot each state will receive. 

Meanwhile, Khairy who is also the chairperson of CITF, said that Health Minister Dr Adham Baba has made arrangements to purchase low-dead volume syringes (LDV) for the administration of Pfizer vaccines. 

An LDV syringe has less space between the needle and the plunger when it is fully pushed in. Hence, for the Pfizer vaccine, by using the LDV syringe, six doses can be extracted from one vial instead of five doses using an ordinary syringe. 

“We have made the order and we have also secured enough LDV syringes. We are hoping for the delivery,” Khairy said. 

“Some of the deliveries have been made and we’re hoping for more deliveries as we roll out the first phase.”

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