Japan kicks off COVID-19 vaccination drive

The UNICEF Humanitarian Airfreight Initiative has been formed with leading airlines to secure the transport of vaccines and other life-saving supplies worldwide

Japan minister says supply will determine vaccine progress

Supplies of imported vaccines are a major concern because of supply shortages and restrictions in Europe, where many are manufactured.

Malaysia will receive its first batch of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines over the weekend for a COVID-19 inoculation drive that is set to begin on February 26, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said on Tuesday, adding that he will be the first to be vaccinated.

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics are set to begin in July.

Malaysia has ordered Covid-19 vaccines from five developers - Pfizer-BioNTech (32 million doses), AstraZeneca (12.8 million doses, including from the global COVAX initiative), China's Sinovac (12 million doses), China's single-shot CanSinoBio vaccine (3.5 million doses), and Russia's Sputnik V (6.4 million doses).

Overall, the government has procured enough vaccines for 109.65 per cent of the population.

Beaumont says its working diligently to get more vaccine from the state to provide the required second dose in a timely manner.

"This is another step forward in realising the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme, which is the largest vaccination programme to be implemented in the country", he said, adding that the handbook can be downloaded from the website www.VaksinCovid.gov.my, which was also launched yesterday.

The government is in talks with Russian Federation to produce the Sputnik V shots in Malaysia as it seeks to boost the number of doses that can be administered in the country, according to the handbook. "I'm glad it didn't hurt".

Woodward also highlighted that the United Kingdom is one the largest donors to the COVID-19 Global Vaccine Access initiative by committing Pound 548 million (USD 762 million) in United Kingdom aid to help distribute 1.3 billion doses of coronavirus vaccines to 92 developing countries this year.

Although daily cases have been in decline in recent weeks after peaking in early January, Tokyo and nine other prefectures remain under a state of emergency to prevent further spread of the disease.

Today, Muhyiddin reiterated that the national vaccination programme would be in three phases, with frontliners and high-risk groups to be vaccinated in the first two while healthy Malaysians adults would receive theirs in the last. The government plans to inoculate medical workers first, then senior citizens, those with health conditions, and workers at elderly care facilities.

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