Here's All You Need To Know About The National COVID-19 Vaccination Programme

Registration for COVID-19 vaccines in Malaysia will begin in March 2021.

Cover image via Bernama/New Straits Times & National Institutes of Health

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin launched the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme handbook today, 16 February

The handbook, launched in a virtual ceremony, details the country's entire vaccination plan from registration to post-immunisation observation.

Also present at the ceremony were Science, Technology, and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin and Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba.

The handbook is currently available on the government's newly-launched COVID-19 Vaccine Supply Access Guarantee Special Committee (JKJAV) website.

Based on the handbook, here is all you need to know about the national action plan:

1. The vaccinations will be rolled out in three phases, and it will start sooner than scheduled

During the launch, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin announced that the first batch of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines will be arriving on 21 February.

This means that the country will begin implementing the immunisation programme on 26 February, starting with the frontliners.

The first phase that involves frontliners will take place from 26 February to April and this is expected to comprise around 500,000 people.

The second phase, involving high-risk groups such as the elderly and those suffering from chronic conditions, is expected to run from April to August. This is set to include around 9.4 million people.

Meanwhile, the third phase, for the remaining adult population aged 18 and above, will take place from May until February 2022, and is expected to include at least 13.7 million people.

2. Registration for COVID-19 vaccines in Malaysia will begin in March 2021

Even though vaccinations will be administered free for all Malaysian citizens and non-citizens, the government has not made it mandatory.

People will have to voluntarily register and provide consent in order to receive the jabs.

The handbook highlights five different ways of registering for the vaccination:
- The MySejahtera application (available on App Store or Google Play)
- The JKJAV website
- A specialised phone hotline (yet to be announced)
- Manual registrations at public and private medical facilities
- Manual registrations with state government rural outreach programmes

Applicants will then be notified by call or SMS of the hospital and appointment date to be administered the vaccination.

3. Recipients will receive a COVID-19 Immunisation Certificate after completing the vaccinations

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin encouraged individuals to get vaccinated to not face restraints in travelling or engaging in business in the future.

The vaccination process might take an individual two weeks to a month to complete, depending on the vaccine dosage schedule.

Some vaccines will require two doses over a number of days apart:
- Pfizer-BioNTech and Gamaleya-Sputnik V: 21 days
- Oxford-AstraZeneca: 28 days
- Sinovac: 14 days

Those vaccinated will have to monitor themselves for side effects after each dose, and if they have any, to report them through the MySejahtera application, the JKJAV website, or by heading to the nearest government clinic.

4. The government is aiming to vaccinate over 80% of the population, or 26.5 million people, by February 2022

Although, according to the handbook, Malaysia has procured 66.7 million doses of vaccines that can ideally immunise 109.65% of the population.

It is stated that the vaccines will be distributed according to available vaccine stock at the point of time.

As of writing, Malaysia has secured COVID-19 vaccines from five manufacturers:
- Pfizer-BioNTech
- Oxford-AstraZeneca
- Sinovac
- CanSinoBIO
- Gamaleya-Sputnik V

However, only the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines have been approved by the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) so far.

Malaysia's COVID-19 Vaccine Portfolio.

Image via Jawatankuasa Khas Jaminan Akses Bekalan Vaksin COVID-19 (JKJAV)

Remember to #JustStayAtHome. Watch the latest update on the COVID-19 situation here.

With the national programme underway, we asked a doctor some questions we had about the COVID-19 vaccines:

Read more about Malaysia's COVID-19 vaccination programe:

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