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Saturday, February 27, 2021, 14:12
Malaysia receives first batch of Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine
By Xinhua
Saturday, February 27, 2021, 14:12 By Xinhua

Chinese Ambassador to Malaysia Ouyang Yujing (left) hands over the Sinovac vaccines to Malaysia's Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob in a ceremony marking the arrival of the first batch of Sinovac vaccines at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, Malaysia, Feb 27, 2021. (ZHU WEI/XINHUA)

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia received the first batch of vaccines made by the Chinese biopharmaceutical company Sinovac Biotechon on Saturday, boosting the country's capability in the fight against the pandemic.

Malaysia's Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein, Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong, Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin as well as the Chinese Ambassador to Malaysia Ouyang Yujing welcomed the arrival of the vaccines at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

Chinese Ambassador to Malaysia Ouyang Yujing (2nd left, front), Malaysia's Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein (3rd left, front), Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob (3rd right, front), Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong (2nd right, front), and Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin (1st right, front) pose for photos next to the first batch of Sinovac vaccines arriving to the country at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, Malaysia, Feb 27, 2021.  (ZHU WEI/XINHUA)

Malaysia's Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said on social media that Malaysia's acquiring of Sinovac vaccines is a "testament to strong ties" between the two countries

Ambassador Ouyang handed over the vaccines to Ismail Sabri, who represented the Malaysian side in a brief ceremony following the arrival.

Foreign Minister Hishammuddin said on social media that Malaysia's acquiring of Sinovac vaccines is a "testament to strong ties" between the two countries.

READ MORE: Malaysia to conduct phase-3 trial of Chinese vaccine

In a press briefing following the arrival, Khairy said the close relationship between Malaysia and China is crucial for Malaysia to acquire Sinovac's vaccines, which have been put in use in various countries including in Turkey, Indonesia and Brazil.

Chinese Ambassador to Malaysia Ouyang Yujing addresses the audience in a press briefing following the arrival of the first batch of Sinovac vaccines at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, Malaysia, Feb 27, 2021.  (ZHU WEI/XINHUA)

"I think the cooperation between the governments of China and Malaysia was extremely important in ensuring that we could also include the Chinese vaccines in our portfolio," he said.

The minister added that the vaccine is currently undergoing the approval process by local regulatory bodies including the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency.

Chinese Ambassador to Malaysia Ouyang Yujing (left) and Malaysia's  Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin attend a press briefing following the arrival of the first batch of Sinovac vaccines at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, Malaysia, Feb 27, 2021. (ZHU WEI/XINHUA)

The arrival of the first batch of the vaccine in bulk shows the tangible achievements of China-Malaysia vaccine cooperation, and represents the deep friendship between the Chinese and Malaysian people.

Ouyang Yujing, Chinese Ambassador to Malaysia  

Ambassador Ouyang pointed to the fact that viruses do not respect borders and only by cooperating in the spirit of solidarity can the international community overcome the pandemic.

"Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic more than a year ago, the governments and people of China and Malaysia have worked side by side in fighting the pandemic and recovering the economy, providing firm support and sincere assistance to each other, which demonstrates the deep friendship between our two countries that have supported each other through thick and thin," he said.

"The arrival of the first batch of the vaccine in bulk shows the tangible achievements of China-Malaysia vaccine cooperation, and represents the deep friendship between the Chinese and Malaysian people," he said.

Chinese Ambassador to Malaysia Ouyang Yujing (first left) and Malaysia's  Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin (second left) address the audience in a press briefing following the arrival of the first batch of Sinovac vaccines at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, Malaysia, Feb 27, 2021. (ZHU WEI/XINHUA)

Malaysia's leading pharmaceutical company Pharmaniaga signed a partnership with Sinovac in January for the supply of the latter's COVID-19 vaccines to Malaysia, involving a fill and finish process of the vaccines by Pharmaniaga.

ALSO READ: Malaysian PM calls for APEC unity against COVID-19

A Malaysia Airlines' aircraft delivering the first batch of Sinovac vaccines to Malaysia arrives at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, Malaysia, Feb 27, 2021. (ZHU WEI/XINHUA)

Crew members aboard a Malaysia Airlines' aircraft delivering the first batch of Sinovac vaccines to Malaysia gesture upon arrival at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, Malaysia, Feb 27, 2021. (ZHU WEI/XINHUA)

Malaysia started its national immunization program this week after receiving the first shipment of vaccines developed by US pharmaceutical firm Pfizer Inc and its German partner BioNTech SE. The Malaysian government is targeting to inoculate at least 80 percent of the country's over 31 million population.

According to the government's plan, Malaysia's vaccination program will be conducted in three phases: phase 1 for frontliners covering some half million people, phase 2 for high-risk groups and phase 3 for adults aged 18 and above with the whole exercise expected to be completed by February next year. 

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