Putrajaya Targets First Vaccine Dose For 500,000 Frontliners By March 31

By Ashswita Ravindran |

In order to achieve the target, the government has to inoculate 15,664 frontliners daily with the Covid-19 vaccine.

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KUALA LUMPUR, March 8 — The government plans to vaccinate all 500,000 frontline workers with the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine by March 31, Khairy Jamaluddin said today. 

Khairy, in a press conference on the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme, said that at the moment, the government has no daily target on doses administered.

“On the issue of daily dose, we don’t have a daily dose target at the moment, but we have a target to finish all phase one, first dose, by the end of this month,” Khairy said. 

“All those who have been listed under Phase One will have received at least their first dose by the end of March.” 

So far, as of March 7, a total of 139,720 frontliners have been vaccinated with the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which amounts to 27.9 per cent of the target. 

With 23 days left until March 31, the government will have to vaccinate 15,664 individuals daily, starting from today, in order to achieve the target of first doses administered for half a million frontline workers.

The daily doses administered over the past three days, however, were fewer than 15,000.

Khairy said at the moment, the vaccination rates are satisfactory but once the immunisation programme moves to Phase Three, then the number of individuals vaccinated daily will have to be increased to 100,000 to 120,000 per day. 

“Myself and Dr Adham we are satisfied with the present rate. We will continue to increase when we get more vaccines and as we move to Phase Two and Phase Three,” the vaccine minister added. 

Meanwhile, Health Minister Dr Adham Baba said that in order to achieve herd immunity sooner, the government is planning to get enough vaccine supplies by the middle of the second quarter of this year. 

“And if this plan is successful, we don’t have to wait until the end of the year for herd immunity for vaccination. And we have to look at our long-term strategy, which is to add our portfolio of vaccines,” Dr Adham said. 

Khairy, during the press conference, also said that the government has managed to procure 32 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for 50 per cent of the population and that Pfizer has even offered vaccines for an additional 20 per cent of the population, which is currently still being discussed. 

Besides that, the government is most likely to drop its discussion with Johnson & Johnson for its single-shot vaccine as the company is only able to ship the vaccines during the fourth quarter of the year. 

Hence, the Malaysian government is now in discussion with the Chinese-based CanSinoBIO to procure their single-shot Covid-19 vaccine.

Khairy also added that the expert working group under the Covid-19 Vaccine Supply Access Guarantee Special Committee (JKJAV) is currently reviewing the Novavax Covid-19 vaccine from the United States, which has an efficacy rate of 89.3 per cent from its Phase Three clinical trial conducted in the United Kingdom. 

So far, Malaysia has received 520,650 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine and is expected to have one million doses by the end of March.

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