18 February 2021
A Malaysia Airlines Airbus A330-300 plane emblazoned with the livery of the national flag has been tasked to fly in the Covid-19 Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for Malaysians on Sunday (Feb 21).
The jetliner will be carrying 312,390 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for the first delivery to Malaysia under the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme in phases starting Feb 26.
According to MAB Kargo Sdn Bhd (MASkargo) chief operations officer Mohd Zulkefly Ujang, the selection of plane with the Jalur Gemilang livery is symbolic, as the vaccine is for Malaysians.
“We have many aircraft with specific livery such as Harimau Malaya, and choosing the national flag shows it is for Malaysians, ” he told Bernama.
MASkargo which is the air cargo division of Malaysia Airlines Bhd, was given the task to coordinate the responsibility of receiving the vaccine at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA).
Mohd Zulkefly said there was no need to modify the passenger plane to transport the vaccine, as only the cargo section of the plane would be used for the purpose.
According to him, since the Covid-19 pandemic began, many passenger aircrafts have been used for cargo service for the country’s external trade.
“During the pandemic, there are no passengers. As such, we carry out the alternative P2C which is passenger for cargo such as Covid-19 test kits, personal protection equipment (PPE) and face masks, ” he said.
Commenting on preparation at the vaccine arrival location, Mohd Zulkefly said intensive efforts are being carried out at the Advanced Cargo Centre (ACC), KLIA to ensure the process of receiving the vaccine proceeded smoothly.
“We will ensure the standard operating procedure (SOP) to contain Covid-19 such as physical distancing is adhered by all present, ” he said.
Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on Tuesday (Feb 16) announced that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine would be arriving in the country on Sunday to implement the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme in phases from Feb 26.
Muhyiddin will be receiving the vaccine on the first day of the programme with frontline workers.
The first phase of the immunisation programme starts from February to April involving frontline workers, followed by the second phase from April to August for high risk groups, namely senior citizens aged 60 and above and vulnerable groups with morbidity problems, as well as the disabled.
The third phase involves adults aged 18 and above from May this year to February next year. – Bernama