Malaysia expects to receive enough vaccines to inoculate 10% of the population through the global COVAX facility
Amid the rising number of coronavirus cases in the country, the Malaysian government said on Saturday it has secured coronavirus vaccine from AstraZeneca PLC. Earlier, Malaysia signed an agreement with Pfizer-BioNTech to acquire their experimental coronavirus vaccine.
The AstraZeneca deal will be signed on Monday. Under the agreement, the 20% of Malaysia's population of 32 million will be vaccinated. The deal is similar to that of the deal with US giant Pfizer Inc and its German partner BioNTech SE, said health minister Adham Baba, news agency Reuters reported.
Malaysia expects to receive enough vaccines to inoculate 10% of the population through the global COVAX facility, backed by the World Health Organization. The government is working to secure more deals to expand inoculation to 70% of the population, the health minister said.
The government expects to receive the first batch of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine doses in February, according to government. Malaysia said last month it had agreed to buy 12.8 million doses of this vaccine, becoming the first country in Southeast Asia to strike a deal with the US drugmaker. Under the Pfizer deal, Malaysia will receive 1 million doses in the first quarter of 2021 and 1.7 million, 5.8 million and 4.3 million doses in the subsequent quarters.
"What is important is which company can provide us quick access to their vaccine and that it must be safe, effective and of high quality," the health minister said.
The Southeast Asian nation has seen a spike in cases since September. It has registered nearly 92,000 cases of the coronavirus and 433 COVID-19 deaths.