BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – The first shipment of 50,400 doses of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Brunei on Sunday, the health ministry announced in a statement.

The Moderna vaccine, which arrived from Spain, will be offered to all Brunei citizens and residents free of charge in phases.

More COVID-19 vaccine doses from US drugmaker Moderna are expected to be delivered later this year as the government had procured 200,000 doses of the jab.

The Brunei Darussalam Medicines Control Authority has authorised the emergency use of the Moderna vaccine after verifying its safety and efficacy.

The first batch of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Brunei from Spain on June 20, 2021. Photo: Courtesy of MoH

Data from clinical trials showed that the Moderna jab was 94.1 percent effective at preventing COVID-19 infections in people who received two doses.

The arrival of the Moderna jab comes a day before Brunei begins Phase 2 of its COVID-19 vaccination drive.

The second phase will see the rollout broaden to include teachers, childcare workers and those with chronic illness such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, diabetes, stroke, heart, kidney and lung disease.

Since the vaccine rollout started on April 3, Brunei has been administering Oxford-AstraZeneca and Sinopharm vaccines to priority groups including frontline workers, senior citizens and overseas-bound students.

A total of 55,505 people or 12.1 percent of the population have received their first dose of a two-shot COVID-19 vaccine, while 2.6 percent of Brunei residents have been fully vaccinated.

The health ministry aims to inoculate at least 70 percent of the population to achieve herd immunity against COVID-19.

Eligible individuals who wish to get inoculated can book their COVID-19 vaccination slots via the BruHealth app.

To date, Brunei has reported 252 coronavirus cases with no locally acquired infections for over a year.