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By Adrian Lim
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 4: The federal government expects to be able to procure Covid-19 vaccines by the first quarter of 2021 (1Q2021).
Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the Federal Cabinet had on October 21 agreed to the formation of a special committee to monitor and coordinate the supply of Covid-19 vaccines in the country to ensure that it is available fast, and is safe and reliable.
Once the Covid-19 vaccine is available, he added, it will be supplied first to frontliners which include healthcare workers, doctors, nurses, police personnel, and prison and immigration officers.
Khairy said the federal government is also looking into providing Covid-19 vaccines to rural villagers who cannot afford to buy the Covid-19 vaccine and to treat the vaccine as public goods.
He highlighted the federal government is implementing an immunisation programme through communication and training at the end of this year so that herd immunity can be achieved.
“The Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry is in the final stage of discussion with the Health Ministry, Finance Ministry and the Attorney General’s Chamber for us to officially participate in the Covid-19 Vaccine Global Access (Covac).
“In terms of pricing by Covac, the maximum indicative price is US$21 per (dose of) vaccine.
“So, we are still looking into a few clauses of the contract which need to be refined.
“We hope that we can sign and be part of the Covac facility in the near future.
“I would like to stress that the supply of Covid-19 vaccines from Covac is just part of the way for us to secure the vaccine.
“The majority of the procurement will be done through bilateral negotiations with countries and companies that manufacture the vaccine,” he told Parliament today.
Khairy was reply to Libaran MP Datuk Zakaria Mohd Edris who wanted to know the latest updates for Malaysia in the participation of Covac in relation to the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines and preparations by the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry and Health Ministry through the special committee to monitor the supply of vaccines for the people.
When replying a proposal by Kuala Selangor MP Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad that at least 60 per cent of the population be provided with two dosages of Covid-19 vaccine for immunity, Khairy said through discussion with the Finance Ministry and the special committee, he has proposed to the Finance Ministry that at least 70 per cent of the population will be provided with vaccines.
He disclosed that his ministry has requested RM3 billion from the Finance Ministry via Budget 2021 for the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines to achieve herd immunity.
Earlier, Papar MP Ahmad Hassan questioned Khairy whether there was a specific plan or strategy to ensure that 85 per cent of the population will achieve herd immunity when the Covid-19 vaccine is available.
On another note, Khairy revealed the federal government welcomed the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines by private the sector and the establishment of vaccine manufacturing facilities through a public-private partnership approach.
He also said the federal government was in discussion with global pharmaceutical companies to supply Covid-19 vaccines.
Khairy revealed that the federal government is in the final stages of negotiations with a few Covid-19 vaccine developing countries including China.
He added Malaysia is on the priority list of Covid-19 vaccine recipients by China as assured by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi during his working trip to Malaysia on Oct 13.
Khairy gave the assurance that all Malaysians will be given access to the Covid-19 vaccine by the federal government and that the vaccine that will be procured will be safe and effective.
He said his ministry together with the Health Ministry and Foreign Affairs Ministry has adopted a multi-pronged approach to secure access to the Covid-19 vaccine since April 2020.
According to Khairy, the World Health Organisation (WHO) had identified 202 Covid-19 vaccine solutions being developed as at Nov 3 and out of that, 10 are currently in phase 3 of clinical trials. — DayakDaily