Healthcare & Pharmaceuticals

Malaysia to receive first batch of Pfizer vaccine in February -report

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A woman holds a small bottle labeled with a "Coronavirus COVID-19 Vaccine" sticker and a medical syringe in front of displayed Pfizer logo in this illustration taken, October 30, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

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KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 19 (Reuters) - Malaysia on Saturday said it expects to receive the first batch of the COVID-19 vaccine jointly developed by Pfizer (PFE.N) and BioNTech (22UAy.DE) in February, according to a report by national news wire Bernama.

Last month, Malaysia announced it had agreed to buy 12.8 million doses of the vaccine, becoming the first country in Southeast Asia to strike a deal with the U.S. drugmaker.

Under the deal, Pfizer will deliver the first one million doses in the first quarter of 2021, with 1.7 million, 5.8 million and 4.3 million doses to follow in subsequent quarters.

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Trade Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali said the government is also in talks with other pharmaceutical companies to secure more vaccines.

"The government is making efforts to get a bigger supply of vaccine to meet our needs. The government will take the advice of the Health Ministry regarding the percentage of people who need to be vaccinated," Mohamed Azmin was quoted as saying by Bernama.

Pfizer and their German partners BioNTech have supply deals with several countries including the United States, Germany, Japan, Canada, Australia and Britain.

They expect to produce globally 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 globally to stop the COVID-19 pandemic, with 48 in human trials, the WHO says.

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Reporting by Joseph Sipalan Editing by Shri Navaratnam

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