KUALA LUMPUR, May 21 — A total of 1,059,200 doses of AstraZeneca-Oxford’s Covid-19 vaccines via the global COVAX Facility and Sinovac were delivered to Malaysia today.
The shipments comprise 559,200 AstraZeneca and 500,000 doses of the finished Sinovac vaccine from China that arrived in Kuala Lumpur today.
Today’s COVAX delivery of AstraZeneca shots is the second shipment after the April 21 COVAX shipment of 268,800 doses, totalling 828,000 of the 1,387,200 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine that Malaysia ordered from the United Nations-backed programme.
WHO representative to Malaysia, Brunei, and Singapore Dr Lo Ying-Ru Jacqueline in a statement said that the arrival of the AstraZeneca vaccine is timely amid the surge of Covid-19 cases, hence it should be taken as an opportunity to vaccinate as many people as possible.
“Priority should be given to those who need it most — senior citizens and people with other underlying health conditions,” Dr Lo said.
Dr Rahsed Mustafa Sarwar, Unicef Representative to Malaysia and Special Representative to Brunei said: “We are very happy with this close partnership with the government of Malaysia and relevant ministries for the opportunity to reach families and communities with life-saving vaccines.”
The Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF), in a separate statement, said it expected another shipment of 559,200 AstraZeneca vaccine doses from COVAX at the end of this month.
CITF said the AstraZeneca shots that were delivered today will be sent to AstraZeneca vaccination sites (PPVAZ) in the Klang Valley, Penang, Johor, and Sarawak — which have been reporting the highest number of Covid-19 cases in recent days.
“At this time, the vaccination rate has shown a consistent increase, where 60,261 people got vaccinated last Monday on May 17, rising to 76,551 on Tuesday and 83,648 on Wednesday,” said CITF.
This Sunday at 12pm, the second round of online registrations for the opt-in programme for the AstraZeneca vaccine will be opened to residents aged 60 and older in Klang Valley, Penang, Johor, Kuching, and Miri on a first-come, first-served basis.
During RTM’s Selamat Pagi programme this morning, Vaccine Minister Khairy Jamaluddin also announced that Malaysia will be receiving two million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine in July.
In the next few weeks, Khairy said that priority will be given to senior citizens as they are at high risk of developing severe disease or dying from Covid-19, with a mobile unit approach for vaccination of the elderly.