Army personnel on missions first to be vaccinated

Ismail Sabri (left) witnessing Mej Mohd Fuad Bin Nazri of the Royal Malay Regiment taking his Covid-19 shot at Tuanku Mizan Army Hospital. Photo: Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF) personnel involved in operations and foreign missions are among the first group to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, said Senior Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

The MAF personnel are the ones who currently and would be deployed in operation areas such as Ops Benteng and Ops Penawar as well as the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (Unifil) and the International Monitoring Team in Mindanao missions under the army, navy and air force, he said.

“For example, this vaccine will be given to personnel involve in Ops Benteng because they are safeguarding the country’s borders and waters, as well as handling illegal immigrants.

“This vaccine will also be given to the group in the Strategic Governance and Operations of the MAF headquarters, Ministry of Defence, Joint Forces headquarters as well as Army, Navy and Air Force Formation headquarters, especially those working in the operation and communication rooms,” he told a press conference after receiving his first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at the Tuanku Mizan Army Hospital in Wangsa Maju here today.

Ismail Sabri said the first phase of the vaccination drive would also target MAF officers and personnel involved in operating the country’s strategic defence assets, including fighter jets, transport aircraft, naval vessels and helicopters.

“It also involves personnel handling air defence assets and other specialised assets that cannot be handled by those who are not specially trained,” he said, adding that the vaccination drive started on Thursday with 230 MAF medical staff receiving the first dose of the Comirnaty vaccine.

Ismail Sabri said 14 MAF and police personnel who would serve with the International Monitoring Team would leave for Mindanao after receiving their second dose in March.

“In addition, second batch of 40 women armed forces personnel in the Unifil mission will receive the vaccine tomorrow (today) before serving in Lebanon,” he said.

On vaccination for Malaysian peacekeepers currently in Lebanon, Ismail Sabri said it had been offered by Unifil.

Asked on his experience today, he said the injection was not painful at all. – Bernama