Malaysia officially doubled their purchase of the Pfizer BNT162b2 vaccine, purchasing 25 million doses!
Find out what this means for the COVID-19 vaccination programme in Malaysia!
Malaysia Buys 25 Million Pfizer BNT162b2 Vaccine Doses!
On 24 November 2020, Malaysia agreed to purchase 12.8 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech BNT162b2 vaccine against COVID-19.
That purchase was doubled on 11 January 2021, when Malaysia signed a Manufacturing & Supply Agreement for the 25 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
At 10:30 AM, the Malaysia Minister of Health Dato’ Sri Dr. Adham bin Baba signed the agreement virtually with Luksanawan Thangpaibool, Country Manager of Pfizer Malaysia / Brunei.
The agreement today was for the purchase of 12,799,800 doses of the BNT162b2 vaccine, which will be delivered starting the end of February 2021.
As two doses are needed per person, this would be enough to vaccinate approximately 6.4 million Malaysians, assuming zero wastage.
With the additional purchase of 12.2 million doses, Malaysia will have 25 million doses in total – enough to vaccinate 12.5 million Malaysians, or 39% of the population.
With More Pfizer Vaccine Doses, Change In Vaccine Plan For Malaysia
Originally, the Ministry of Health planned to vaccinate 82.8% of the population using six COVID-19 vaccines :
- 20% will receive the BNT162b2 vaccine from Pfizer-BioNTech
- 10% will receive the AZD1222 vaccine from AstraZeneca-Oxford
- 10% will receive vaccines secured through the COVAX facility
- 22% will receive the CoronaVac vaccine from Sinovac BioTech.
- 10.8% will receive the Convidecia vaccine from CanSino Biologics.
- 10% will receive the Sputnik V (Gam-COVID-Vac) vaccine from Gamaleya Research Institute.
But with the increased purchase of the Pfizer BNT162b2 vaccine, that would mean Malaysia will purchase fewer vaccines from Sinovac, CanSino or Gamaleya.
Malaysia Approved Pfizer BNT162b2 COVID-19 Vaccine
Despite Pfizer only submitting their vaccine dossier to the Malaysia National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Division (NPRA) on 15 December 2020, it was approved in less than a month.
When the Prime Minister announced the imposition of MCO / CMCO / RMCO across Malaysia on the same day, he also announced that the NPRA approved the registration of the Pfizer BNT162b2 vaccine.
The Malaysia Ministry of Health had earlier stated that a priority review would take 90-120 working days.
This accelerated approval would now allow the Malaysia Ministry of Health to prepare for the distribution and administration of the Pfizer vaccine as soon as the first batch arrives at the end of February 2021.
The Pfizer-BioNTech BNT162b2 vaccine (also known as Tozinameran or Comirnaty) has the NPRA registration number of MAL21016022AZ.
Pfizer BNT162b2 COVID-19 Vaccine : A Quick Primer
The Pfizer BNT162b2 COVID-19 vaccine is an mRNA-based vaccine designed by BioNTech.
Unlike more traditional methods of using dead particles, or attenuated viruses, the mRNA vaccine teaches your cells to create proteins that mimic the SARS-CoV-2 virus, thereby triggering an immune response.
Recommended : Pfizer + Moderna mRNA Vaccines : How Do They Work?
The Pfizer vaccine requires extreme refrigeration, which greatly complicates logistics :
- Every Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine thermal shipping box contains between 1,000 and 5,000 doses.
- Every shipping box is packed with specially-formulated dry ice, to last for up to 10 days, or 15 days if kept refilled with dry ice.
- When stored in special ultra-low temperature freezers at -70°C or lower, it will last up to 6 months.
- When stored in standard freezers (commonly used in hospitals) at 2-8°C, it will last up to 5 days.
Hence, vaccination using the Pfizer vaccine is likely to occur only in select government hospitals in major cities.
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