ACCORDING to our Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, the national COVID-19 vaccination program will begin its rollout by the end of this month to immunize more than half of Malaysians. On January 11, the agreement for the delivery of the first phase of the COVID-19 Pfizer-BioNTech BNT1262b to the entire country was signed between the Malaysian Government, through the Health Ministry, with Pfizer (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd for RM 2.05 billion.
The agreement with Pfizer (Malaysia) involves the procurement of 12,799,800 doses of vaccine that will be supplied from the end of February. The COVID-19 immunization plan will begin on Feb 26 and is said to be able to cover 83% of Malaysians. PM Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced this at the Prime Minister’s Office in November 2020. We bet most of us are doubtful and confused about this whole thing (don’t worry, we are too!).
Below, The Central MY has gathered all the key details you need to know about Malaysia’s COVID vaccines program which will also be the nation’s ‘largest vaccination program ever’ to begin by month’s end, which is very very sooooon!!!!!
- The Vaccines Will Be Free For Everyone Living in Malaysia
Here’s good news, despite spending billions on getting the vaccines, it will be given free to all Malaysians and the Malaysian Cabinet has decided that all foreign nationals living in Malaysia can get vaccinated against COVID-19 at no charge like Malaysian citizens in a bid to reach herd immunity against the dangerous pathogen.
“If we vaccinate our people but not three million foreigners, we are at risk because we haven’t hit the threshold of herd immunity” Khairy Jamaluddin, from the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation (MOSTI).
- The Vaccines Are Not Compulsory and Are Voluntary
Here is another thing you need to know about the immunization program, it is not compulsory and on a voluntary basis for all Malaysians. In fact, a specific group will be taking the test first before making it open to all public. As of now, we know that frontliners will be the first to test it out.
- Children Are Not Allowed To Take The Vaccine Shots
Due to lack of clinical trials on children, they are exempted from the vaccine. For now, only the adult population will be given the vaccine. The vaccine is authorized for those above the age of 18. It is said the high-risk groups including frontliners and senior citizens will be prioritized, but let’s also follow updates by the government.
- There Will Be Side Effects But Only For Short-Term
Out of millions of doses administered to date globally, the vaccines have very few mild side effects. Deputy Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Ahmad Amzad Hashim in an interview with BERNAMA Radio’s Jendela Fikirprogram said all vaccines have side effects. What’s important is that they aren’t serious or harmful.
Some common side effects of the COVID-19 vaccines are:
- Headache; and
- Pain and swelling on the arm where you receive the shot.
In most cases, discomfort from fever or pain is normal. And the redness or tenderness where you receive the shot may increase after 24 hours. If you experience any adverse side effects after a few days, report it directly to the Ministry of Health by contacting 03-78835400 or send an email to email@example.com.
- The Vaccines Will Be Available In Rural Areas Too
We bet some of you are concerned about the accessibility of the vaccines especially in rural areas. To combat this, the government is planning to open vaccine stations across all towns, cities and villagers in Malaysia. Though Pfizer requires storage at ultra-cold temperatures, the government said to have special plans that will ensure the vaccines reach all areas in its full potency.
- The Vaccines Do Not Contain Any Animal-Based Ingredients
None of the vaccines contain any components of animal origins or human embryo cells. Khairy Jamaluddin said that the government will verify the halal status of the vaccines to ensure that they are clean and do not contain ingredients that are not permissible.
Despite what is expected to be Malaysia’s largest immunization program, experts have predicted that we still need a year to achieve herd immunity for the coronavirus through the National COVID-19 Immunization Plan. According to MOH, the administration of the vaccine will be implemented in three phases and will run until February 2022. We understand that you are in lots of doubt and are hearing lots of speculations about Malaysia’s COVID-19 vaccine deal.
Well, all we can say is that obtain only valid information that is announced directly from the officials. Other than that, for now stay safe and practice the SOPs accordingly. We will keep you updated with more information as soon as we get them. Take care and stay safe!