First batch of China's CoronaVac Covid-19 vaccine arrives in Malaysia

(From left) Dr Wee Ka Siong, Mr Khairy Jamaluddin, Mr Ouyang Yujing and Mr Hishammuddin Hussein receiving the CoronaVac vaccine shipment. PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The first batch of the CoronaVac vaccine has arrived in Malaysia, with the vaccine expected to be processed into more than 300,000 doses.

Developed by Sinovac Life Sciences Co, the vaccines had journeyed from the plant in Beijing, China, and have arrived in bulk totalling 200 litres.

The vaccines touched down at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) at 9am on Saturday (Feb 27) on flight MH319 which was operated by MASKargo.

The batch of vaccines was flown in on an Airbus 300 passenger-to-cargo flight, and will be taken to the Pharmaniaga manufacturing facility where it will be bottled.

Present at the airport during the vaccines' arrival were Health Minister Adham Baba, Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong and Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

Also there were Foreign Affairs Minister Hishammuddin Hussein and China's ambassador to Malaysia Ouyang Yujing.

Malaysia is scheduled to obtain 14 million doses of CoronaVac in stages, which will be used to vaccinate about 22 per cent of the population.

Mr Khairy, who is also the coordinating minister for the National Covid-19 Immunisation programme, had also previously said the vaccine is pending approval from the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency.

The country kicked off its mass vaccination programme on Wednesday, with Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin being the first to be vaccinated.

There are three phases to the immunisation programme, with front-liners being vaccinated in the first phase from February to April.

The second phase runs from April and August this year, with high-risk groups and senior citizens aged 60 and above being vaccinated.

The rest of the Malaysian population aged 18 years and above will be vaccinated in the third phase, which is from May 2021 to February 2022.

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