By Omer Faruk Yildiz
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AA) – Malaysia granted conditional approval Tuesday for the use of coronavirus vaccines produced by UK firm AstraZeneca and China’s Sinovac.
Health Ministry Director-General Noor Hisham Abdullah said full approval of the vaccines will be granted if the companies provide additional information on their efficacy and safety.
The country began a vaccination drive last month using the vaccine developed by Pfizer-BioNTech.
Abdullah noted that the Russian Sputnik V vaccine is also under examination for approval.
As part of its national COVID-19 immunization program, Malaysia kicked off vaccinations on Feb. 24 and it is continuing with the vaccination of health care workers and security forces.
In phase two covering April to August, 9.4 million people will be vaccinated, including those over the age of 60, chronic patients and disabled people.
In phase three, the coronavirus vaccine will be given to 13.7 million people over the age of 18 between May 2021 and February 2022.
Malaysia reached an agreement to get a total of 66.7 million doses of vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca, Sinovac, CanSinoBIO and Sputnik V, aiming to create 70% immunity in the country.
With the start of mass vaccinations, 126,000 people are planned to be vaccinated daily at 600 vaccination centers in the country.
Malaysia has so far reported over 304,000 infections and 1,141 deaths with nearly 279,000 recoveries.