KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 27 — Malaysia has finalised an agreement to purchase 12.8 million doses of Pfizer Inc’s Covid-19 vaccine that will start to be delivered in the first quarter of next year, said Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
The doses will be enough to vaccinate 6.4 million people, with the initial shipment of one million doses earmarked for 500,000 frontline health workers.
Muhyiddin added that Malaysia has also closed a deal with Covax Facility for its version of the vaccine, which would be enough for approximately three million Malaysians.
All Malaysians will be vaccinated against Covid-19 without charge, Muhyiddin added.
“The agreement is also aimed at ensuring the government has access to the data needed to evaluate the quality, safety and effectiveness of the vaccine as well as guarantee supply once it is available,” Muhyiddin was quoted as saying by national news agency Bernama.
Muhyiddin said the American pharmaceutical firm has committed to delivering another 1.7 million doses in the second quarter of 2020, followed by 5.8 million and 4.3 million in third and fourth quarters, respectively.
The vaccines will be dispensed based on priority when they arrive, with those in high-risk groups to receive these ahead of the general population, the PM said.
Separately on Twitter, Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said efforts would continue to secure more Covid-19 vaccines for the rest of the country.
“With the COVAX facility & Pfizer deal we now have doses for 30 per cent of our population.
“(Health Minister Datuk Seri) Dr Adham Baba and I are working hard to close further deals to secure doses up to 70 per cent of our population (preliminary target for herd immunity),” Khairy said.
Previous reports of data from Pfizer’s clinical trials suggested its vaccine could be above 90 per cent effective against Covid-19 but this has yet to be confirmed.
Such a high level of effectiveness would allow Malaysia to achieve herd immunity against Covid-19 vaccine without necessarily vaccinating the entire population.
Malaysia, like much of the world, has effectively been paralysed for most of 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The country had appeared to be on the mend after months of various movement control orders since March but Covid-19 returned with a vengeance in October, causing the country to record close to 50,000 new cases since then compared to the 10,000 accumulated up to that point.