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Malaysia doubles Pfizer COVID vaccine order as it locks down anew

Extra 12.2m doses in bag but Kuala Lumpur and 5 states face rule tightening

A medical worker holds a swab sample at a coronavirus testing station in Klang, Malaysia.   © Reuters

KUALA LUMPUR -- Malaysia has committed to purchasing an additional 12.2 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine -- on top of 12.8 million doses already lined up -- as surging infections force a reintroduction of tight restrictions in some areas.

The procurement deal will give Malaysia enough Pfizer shots to inoculate about 39% of its population, the Health Ministry said in a statement on Monday -- since each individual requires two doses. Combined with a deal for 6.4 million doses from British-Swedish drugmaker AstraZeneca, and an expected supply of another 6.4 million from the World Health Organization's COVAX facility, Malaysia has lined up enough vaccines for roughly 60% of its populace of nearly 33 million.

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