KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Malaysia on Saturday said it expects to receive the first batch of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech in February, according to a report by national news wire Bernama.
Last month, Malaysia announced it had agreed to purchase 12.8 million doses of the vaccine, becoming the first country in Southeast Asia to enter into a deal with a U.S. drug dealer.
Under the deal, Pfizer will deliver the first million doses in the first quarter of 2021, with 1.7 million, 5.8 million and 4.3 million doses to follow in the subsequent quarters.
Commerce Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali said the government is also in talks with other pharmaceutical companies to get more vaccines.
“The government is working to get a bigger supply of vaccine to meet our needs. The government will take advice from the Ministry of Health on the percentage of people who need to be vaccinated, ”Mohamed Azmin was quoted as saying by Bernama.
Pfizer and its German partners BioNTech have supply contracts with several countries including the United States, Germany, Japan, Canada, Australia and Britain.
They plan to produce up to 50 million doses of vaccines in 2020 and up to 1.3 billion doses in 2021.
More than 150 potential vaccines are being developed and tested worldwide to prevent COVID-19 pandemic disease, with 48 in human trials, the WHO says .
Reporting by Joseph Sipalan; Edited by Shri Navaratnam