About 26.5 million people, or 82.8 per cent of the country's population are expected to be vaccinated for free against COVID-19.

This was announced by Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Khairy Jamaluddin in a Twitter post this morning after attending the government's signing ceremony to procure 6.4 million additional doses of COVID-19 vaccine from research-based pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca.According to Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, the first batch of one million vaccines from Pfizer is expected to reach and be administered here as early as February 2021, and he will be among the first batch to get the inoculation to ensure its safety to the people, followed by frontliners.

"After the frontliners, the vaccine will be given to the target groups comprising high risk groups, including the senior citizens, those with non-communicable diseases (NCD) and chronic respiratory illnesses," the New Straits Times (NST) quoted the premier saying in a short video regarding the latest development on the distribution of C0VID-19 vaccine to Malaysians.

The government will fork out RM2.05 billion to get the vaccines to the people - surpassing the earlier target of 70 per cent of the country's population.

Among the parties the government has linked deals with for the vaccine are AstraZeneca, Covax Facility, Pfizer, and are in final stage of negotiations with Sinovac, CanSino and Gamaleya.

Muhyiddin said the government would ensure that there would be enough supply of vaccines, and that the acquired ones are safe and effective.

The number of new COVID-19 cases continue to be in four digits, in the last few days.

Yesterday, 2,018 new cases were recorded, bringing the total confirmed COVID-19 cases to 95,327. The death tally currently stands at 437.

Globally, the coronavirus has infected more than 77.7 million people and killed over 1.7 million.

Source: NST
Photo source: Astro Awani