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Sinovac Vaccine Arrives In Malaysia, But Not Approved Yet

Sinovac Vaccine Arrives In Malaysia, But Not Approved Yet

The first batch of the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine – CoronaVac – just arrived in Malaysia.

There was not much fanfare, because the Sinovac vaccine has NOT actually been approved for use in Malaysia.


Sinovac Vaccine Arrives In Malaysia!

The first batch of the Sinovac vaccine – CoronaVac – arrived at the KL International Airport aboard MH319 at 8:47 AM on 27 February 2021.

Unlike the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, the Ministry of Health obtained CoronaVac through Pharmaniaga Lifescience Sdn Bhd – an intermediary company.

Hence, the Sinovac vaccine arrived in the form of 200 litres of CoronaVac bulk vaccine, which would then have to be bottled by Pharmaniaga.

Once bottled, these 200 litres of bulk vaccine should produce over 300,000 CoronaVac doses – enough to vaccinate approximately 150,000 people.

The Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Khairy Jamaluddin, said that the government is paying Sinovac less for the vaccine because bottling is done by Pharmaniaga.

However, he declined to disclose more information, so it is unknown how much the government is saving, once the costs of Pharmaniaga’s bottling and distribution are included.


Sinovac Vaccine Not Approved In Malaysia Just Yet

While the CoronaVac vaccine has arrived in Malaysia, we should point out that it has not been approved by the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA).

Therefore, the CoronaVac vaccine will not be used just yet in the Malaysia COVID-19 vaccination program.

According to the Science, Technology and Innovation Minister, Khairy Jamaluddin, this is because the CoronaVac vaccine has not been bottled.

One of the criteria for approval by the NPRA is the evaluation of the bottling process by Pharmaniaga. Until that happens, the CoronaVac vaccine cannot be approved for use in Malaysia.

It should be pointed out that China only just approved this Sinovac vaccine for general use on 6 February 2021.


Sinovac COVID-19 Vaccine : A Quick Primer

Developed by Sinovac, CoronaVac is an inactivated virus vaccine – an older method of creating vaccines.

The SARS-CoV-2 viruses are cultured (grown) in Vero cells, and inactivated (killed) before being administered as a vaccine.

The CoronaVac vaccine only needs to be refrigerated at 2–8 °C (36–46 °F), which makes it easy to distribute.

This is a 2-dose vaccine, which the second dose delivered 14 days after the first.

Its Brazil clinical trial results showed that the CoronaVac vaccine was 50.4% effective in preventing COVID-19, just crossing the 50% mark for regulatory approval.

It was about 78% effective in preventing “mild to severe” COVID-19 disease, which is nevertheless good news.

Recommended : CoronaVac Vaccine By Sinovac : Your Questions Answered!


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Pfizer Vaccine Arrives Early, Vaccination Starts 24 February!

The Pfizer Comirnaty vaccine arrived early, and COVID-19 vaccination will kick off earlier – on Wednesday, 24 February 2021!


Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine Arrives Early!

The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine was originally expected to arrive on 26 February 2021, but the first tranche arrived a few days earlier than planned.

At 10 AM on Sunday, 21 February 2021, the first shipment of 312,390 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine (also known as Comirnaty or BNT162b2) arrived.

The vaccines were flown from the Pfizer manufacturing facility in Puurs in Belgium to Singapore by DHL, before MASKargo flight MH604 flew this shipment to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

The Pfizer vaccine doses will not be limited to the Klang Valley, but are being distributed to different states.


At 3 PM, the Ministry of Health announced that Johor will receive 73,710 doses – enough to vaccinate 36,855 people.

Those vaccine doses will be stored in 4 Vaccination Storage Centres (PSV), which will then distribute them to 54 Vaccination Centres (PPV) across the state of Johor.


Penang received what appears to be a single thermal shipper container. Each thermal shipper can hold up to 4,875 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine


Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccination Begins 24 February 2021!

The Malaysia Ministry of Health also announced that the COVID-19 vaccination program will kick off early, on Wednesday, 24 February 2021.

The Malaysian Prime Ministry, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and the Director-General of Health, Tan Sri Dr. Noor Hisham Abdullah, will be the first to receive the first shots of the Pfizer Comirnaty vaccine.

Phase 1 : 24 February – April 2021

Phase 1 will involve immunising 500,000 front line workers, divided into two groups :

  • Group 1 : public and private healthcare workers
  • Group 2 : frontliners providing essential services and national defence (like teachers, the police, civil defence (RELA), firefighters, rescue workers, and the armed forces).

* Originally scheduled to start in first week of March, it was brought forward to 24 February 2021.

Phase 2 : April – August 2021

Phase 2 will focus on immunising 9.4 million high-risk adults, divided into two groups :

  • Group 1 : remaining healthcare workers and frontliners (including defence)
  • Group 2 : senior citizens 65 years or olderdisabled adults, and vulnerable adults with chronic diseases, like heart disease, obesity, diabetes and hypertension

Phase 3 : May 2021 – February 2022

Phase 3 will make the COVID-19 vaccine available to the rest of the population :

  • adults 18 years or older
    – prioritised from red zones > yellow zones > green zones

This may be the last phase, but it is the most critical phase to build herd immunity that will protect the rest of the population that cannot be vaccinated against COVID-19.


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