PM: Covid-19 vaccines for 6.4 million Malaysians as early as January next year

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image source: the star

PUTRAJAYA: The government has started rolling out a RM3bil plan to gain enough Covid-19 vaccines to immunise 6.4 million of the population, as soon the vaccine has been proven safe enough to be used as early as January 2021, says Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

The Prime Minister said that an early purchase agreement has been inked with pharmaceutical giant Pfizer to gain a supply of 12.8 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine for 20% of the population, which will not include children under 12 years of age.

In a media conference Friday (Nov 27), Muhyiddin announced that the deal was signed on Nov 24, and this is the first stage of the government’s plan to provide free Covid-19 immunisation for all Malaysians.

“The government guarantees all Malaysians that the Covid-19 vaccines used in Malaysia will go through stringent conditions set by the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA). There will be no compromise on its safety and quality, ” said Muhyiddin.

He said that the agreement with Pfizer will ensure the government has access to data to be able to monitor the quality, safety and efficacy, as well as guarantee access to the vaccine when the company is ready to distribute.

“Pfizer, on Nov 9, stated that the first analysis of the interim data showed a vaccine efficacy of 95%.

“Pfizer also promised delivery of one million does of vaccine in the first quarter of 2021, followed by 1.7 million doses in the second quarter, 5.8 million doses in the third quarter and 4.3 million doses in the final quarter of 2021, ” said Muhyiddin at the Prime Minister’s Office here Friday.

The Prime Minister was flanked by Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba and Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin during the virtual media conference.

The Prime Minister also said that although the deal was signed, Pfizer has yet to pass the US Food and Drug Administration and the regulatory bodies of the manufacturing countries.

“Pfizer also has to get the approval from the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency under the Health Ministry before the vaccine can be used in Malaysia.

“On Nov 22, Health Minister Dr Adham also signed an agreement with the Covax facility to get the Covid-19 vaccines to enable the immunisation of 10% of the population.

“Both these agreements are expected to gain us access to the Covid-19 vaccine for 30% of the Malaysian population, ” said Muhyiddin.

He said that the vaccine, when in hand, will be given in stages to high-risk groups including frontliners, the elderly and patients who suffer from non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and chronic illnesses.

He assured that no one will be made a guinea pig when getting the immunisation for Covid-19.

“It will later be widened to other targeted groups, ” said Muhyiddin.

The Prime Minister also announced that the Health Ministry will begin a Phase Three clinical study in Dec 2020 on the Covid-19 vaccine with the People’s Republic of China.

The study will be conducted by local contract research organisations and registered under the National Medical Research Registry.

“This vaccine will be developed by the Institute Medical Biology Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences.

“This Phase 3 clinical study will involve 3,000 participants and will test the safety and efficacy of the vaccine which is being developed, ” said Muhyiddin.

He said that the safety of the vaccine will be under the monitoring of the NPRA to get a Clinical Trial Import Licence and MREC to ensure it will be approved by the Health Ministry.

The Prime Minister also stated that Malaysia will take a multi-pronged approach to get enough vaccines for at least 60% of the population.

“We will get the tested vaccines from any country and we are currently negotiating with 10 of the 12 leading manufacturers of Covid-19 vaccines in various countries such as China, Russia and the US.

“Whatever it is, the vaccine to be used on Malaysians must be first approved by NPRA.

“We will not make it compulsory for all, but we will make it mandatory for the vulnerable groups.

“A recent study has shown that 82% of Malaysians are in favour of Covid-19 immunisation. As for those against vaccination, we will engage them through information and media campaigns, ” said Muhyiddin.

On the private sector getting access to Covid-19 vaccines, Muhyiddin said that they will have to wait until the supply is enough on the government’s side.

Foreigners, Muhyiddin said, will be charged if they want to be immunised against Covid-19, when the vaccines do arrive.

“However, we do not prevent the private sector from negotiating to get their own supply, ” said Muhyiddin.

He also urged the countries which are developing the tested Covid-19 vaccines to set up their factories in Malaysia.

“We will give them special treatment and provide them with incentives, ” said Muhyiddin.

Source: the star