The Ministry of Health (MOH) took to its official Facebook page to thank the captain of a MASkargo Airbus A330-300 that safely brought home the first batch of the Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccines
MOH identified the captain as Hamdan Che Ismail.
"He is the person responsible for flying the aircraft that brought home the first COVID-19 vaccine to our country," the ministry wrote in its post, which has since gone viral with over 8,000 shares.
Captain Hamdan flew two special cargo boxes that arrived in Singapore from Belgium.
The boxes were labelled as AKE 10296 MH and AKE 10679 MH. The vaccine distribution will be handled by DHL Express, which is the appointed agent for global distribution of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines.
Captain Hamdan, who is from Tumpat, Kelantan, has served MAS for 29 years. But the hour it took him to fly the vaccines from Singapore to here was the most nerve-racking of his entire career, he said.
According to Hamdan, he also needed to ensure the correct temperature was maintained in the aircraft at all times, so as not to affect the effectiveness of the vaccines which must be stored at -70 degrees Celcius.
Bernama reported him admitting that he was a little nervous about today's task.
"When I thought about the COVID-19 vaccine supply on the plane, I was worried that it (the supply) could get spoilt... Alhamdulillah, the vaccine supply has now reached Malaysia," the pilot was quoted as saying.
The aircraft was decorated with the Jalur Gemilang livery
Hamdan said he and five other crew members of the flight, namely an assistant pilot, two cabin crew, an officer from MASKargo, and an engineer, left for Singapore at 6am today and arrived an hour later.
When I arrived at KLIA, I felt jubilant, overwhelmed, and excited to have successfully brought the COVID-19 vaccines to the country.