YESTERDAY, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin unveiled the official website (www.vaksincovid.gov.my) and handbook for the National Immunisation Programme (NIP) with the tagline “Protect Yourself, Protect Everyone”.
Come Feb 26, Malaysia is set to roll out its COVID-19 vaccination exercise with the premier and several frontliners taking the lead in getting vaccinated.
This follows arrival of the first shipment of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines which are scheduled to arrive on Feb 21 or five days ahead of schedule.
Some half a million Malaysians are expected to be inoculated under the first phase of the exercise which runs until April.
While this latest development speaks volume of positivity after many Malaysians having gone through almost a year of economic and financial hardship since the imposition of the movement control order (MCO) on March 18 last year, it is vital to ensure that the vaccination exercise gets underway with minimal complication.
This is considering the desired outreach and speed to create as wide a herd immunity as possible among every citizen in regardless of their social status, profession or age.
Even from a stock market standpoint (which is forward-looking in nature), the vaccination exercise is seen as a key driver for the local bourse to scale greater heights.
Coupled with the lifting of the MCO 2.0 in all but four states effective Feb 19 (Friday), the vaccination exercise is likely to be viewed positively by the market as it reduces corporate earnings risk concerns.
“We are of the view that the market will re-rate and shift to stocks that will benefit from the economic recovery should the execution of the national COVID-19 vaccination programme progress smoothly and according to the timeline spelt out by the government,” commented CGS-CIMB Research head Ivy Ng Lee Fang in a Malaysia Strategy note.
However Ng cautioned that there could be potential hiccups along the way. Among the concerns is that the number of vaccine doses may not be sufficient to meet the tight deadline.
“The Government has so far only provided detailed timeline on the deliveries of Pfizer-Biotech vaccines but not for the other four vaccine types,” the research house pointed out.
Aside from the first batch of one million doses (for 500,000 people at two doses each) which are slated to arrive on Feb 21, another 1.7 million doses are expected in 2Q 2021, 3Q 2021 (5.8 million doses) and 4Q 2021 (4.3 million doses).
Reiterating that a successful execution of the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme will be key to lifting market sentiment, CGS-CIMB Research maintained its 2021 FBM KLCI target of 1,759 (12-month forward price-to-earnings ratio of 16.2 times). – Feb 17, 2021