KUALA LUMPUR, Feb. 24 (Xinhua) -- Malaysia launched its national immunization program on Wednesday, with Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin being the first to be vaccinated.
Muhyiddin received the shot on live television in a bid to build confidence of the vaccine among the public. He was joined by Health Ministry Director-General Noor Hisham Abdullah and four frontliners, who also received their shots.
This would be Malaysia's largest vaccination program ever, aiming to inoculate at least 80 percent of the country's total population to achieve protection against COVID-19, which has infected over 280,000 people and caused over 1,000 deaths in the country so far.
The vaccination will be conducted in three phases: phase 1 for frontliners covering some half a million people, phase 2 for high-risk groups and phase 3 for all adults aged 18 and above with the whole exercise expected to be completed by February next year.
Malaysia received its first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines on Sunday, which were jointly developed by U.S. pharmaceutical firm Pfizer Inc. and its German partner BioNTech SE.
Malaysia has secured vaccines from several suppliers. Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin had said the first batch of vaccines developed by Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac are set to arrive on Feb. 27.