The second phase of the national immunisation programme for COVID-19 is expected to start sooner than initially planned.

This after the government is satisfied with the rate of vaccine delivery by Pfizer-BioNtech and the vaccination in the first phase.

According to Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, some 428,710 people have been vaccinated against COVID-19 so far, under Phase 1 of the national immunisation programme that runs from February to April this year. The first phase is dedicated to some 500,000 frontline workers.

"As of this week, we have lifted the policy of 'one dose, one reserve' and we roll the doses and don't have to wait for new delivery in order to roll the doses.

"With that, we are able to finish Phase 1 earlier and can start Phase 2 earlier as well. The vaccination rate at present can go as high as 20,000 a day based on delivery of the vaccine,” Bernama quoted Khairy, who is also the coordinating minister for the immunisation programme, as telling a media briefing session yesterday.

With the early completion of the first phase of the programme, the second phase dor senior citizens, the high-risk group, and the disabled, can kick off earlier, Khairy added.

The date of the second phase will be announced next week after Khairy has had a meeting with Health Minister Dr Adham Baba.

According to the original schedule, Phase 2 of the immunisation programme was to run from April to August this year, involving 9.4 million people, including senior citizens, people in the high-risk group, as well as the disabled.

The third group, involving some 13.7 million people - both citizens and non-citizens aged 18 and above, are to receive their jabs from May to February next year.

The COVID-19 cases in the country has been on a downward trend of late.

As of yesterday, there have been a total of 334,156 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country, with 1,238 deaths.

The global coronavirus infection and death tally has surpassed 124 million, and 2.73 million, respectively.

Source: Bernama
Photo source: Rojakdaily