Sunday, June 13

Immunisation seen as turning point in Covid-19 battle

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Muhyiddin about to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine from Chief Nurse Lina Ibrahim at the Putrajaya District Health Office Precinct 11. — Bernama photos

KUALA LUMPUR: The launch of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme by Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin yesterday can be likened to a shot in the arm for Malaysia’s year-long battle against the pandemic.

Reflecting the government’s seriousness in using vaccination as an additional strategy to fight the pandemic, the prime minister himself took the first shot of the vaccine to roll out the programme.

The vaccine is offered free to the people, locals and foreigners alike, and inoculation is on a voluntary basis.

The immunisation exercise came on the heels of various forms of movement restrictions and standard operating procedure (SOP) imposed to curb the spread of the virus, which has battered the economy and claimed almost 2.5 million lives worldwide.

Muhyiddin received his first shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at the Putrajaya Health Office in Precinct 11 here yesterday.

Health director-general Tan Sri Noor Hisham Abdullah, a familiar face in Malaysia’s Covid-19 war, and four personnel of the Health Ministry (MOH) also took their vaccine shots yesterday.

Four Health Ministry personnel (from left) a nurse Sheilla Mellissa Sikin, medical officer Dr Tan Yee Ling, assistant medical officer Khairul Asraf Mohd Yasin and driver at the Putrajaya Health Office Clement a/l Marai Francis show their vaccine Covid-19 card after receiving their vaccine shots.

The four MOH staff are Dr Tan Yee Ling, Sheilla Mellissa Sikin, Khairul Asraf Mohd Yasin and Clement a/l Marai Francis.

The move by the prime minister and MOH frontliners to get themselves vaccinated has certainly boosted the confidence of the people regarding the safety of the vaccine.

In fact, after getting his jab, Muhyiddin described the vaccination process as smooth and assured the people that the vaccine is safe and effective.

He urged the people to sign up for the vaccination and support the government’s latest effort to break the chain of infection and end the pandemic.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Seri Dr Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri said the effort to administer Covid-19 vaccine is in line with maqasid syariah (Islamic requirements).

The Muzakarah Committee of the National Council on Islamic Religious Affairs has decided that the use of Covid-19 vaccine is permissible (harus) and compulsory (wajib) for groups that have been identified by the government.

“May Allah SWT protect Malaysia in this effort and answer our prayers,” he said in his Twitter posting yesterday.

Meanwhile, the vaccination exercise is moving in tandem in other parts of the country, as vaccines will be distributed from 54 Vaccine Storage Centres (PSV) to the 605 Vaccine
Dispensing Centres (PPV) nationwide.

Several states in Peninsular Malaysia yesterday started receiving their supply of the Comirnaty vaccine produced by Pfizer-BioNTech.

They included Negeri Sembilan, Kedah, Melaka, Kelantan, Perak, Pahang and Perlis.

The national immunisation programme, themed Protect Oneself, Protect Everyone, will be implemented in three phases, with the first phase from February to April 2021 for 500,000 frontliners.

Phase two from April to August is for senior citizens aged 65 and above, high-risk groups and people with disabilities involving 9.4 million people, while phase three is from May 2021 to February 2022, for those aged 18 and above, covering more than 13.7 million people.

The government is targeting to get at least 80 per cent of the people vaccinated to achieve herd immunity to curb and end the pandemic.

Malaysia has signed agreements to procure 66.7 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine through the COVAX Facility and five producers – Pfizer BioNTech, Astra Zeneca, Sinovac, CanSino and Gamaleya.

The first batch of 312,390 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine arrived in the country on Sunday.

Coordinating Minister for the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme Khairy Jamaluddin said that so far 465,081 people had registered via MySejahtera for the vaccination. — Bernama