Kuching MP: Malaysia needs Covid-19 vaccines ASAP

Dr Kelvin Yii

KUCHING, Dec 17: Distribution of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccines estimated to start in May 2021 would come too late considering Malaysia’s current state of urgency, according to Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii.

He opined that the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA)’s evaluation on the Pfeizer-BioNtech vaccine which would take 120 working days under Priority Review is too long of a timeline.

He pointed out that only by June 14, 2021 would Malaysia’s first Covid-19 vaccine be approved, and even if the application were to be expedited to 90 working days as a special case, the vaccine would only get its approval by April 26, 2021.

After the approval, he added, the distribution and logistics would take even more time and could only start the earliest by May 2021; thus it remains unknown the exact timeline of vaccination for frontliners and the general population.

“This is my view, (it) is still too late due to the nature and urgent need for the vaccine, not just for the health sector, but also to boost the economic sector and hopefully restart some of the sectors that has been badly hit by the pandemic.

“Besides the domestic economic sector, the importance of the vaccine is significant when it comes to opening borders and trade, including creating travel bubbles with our neighbouring countries like Singapore,” he opined in a statement today.

His estimation was based on the recent statement by Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba who revealed that Pfeizer has submitted its dossier and date to NPRA on Dec 14, and the assessment would take a maximum of 120 working days.

In relation to the issue, Dr Yii quoted the USA-based Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME)’s projection that Malaysia may experience a continuous rise of Covid-19 cases until mid-March next year, hitting over 5,000 infections daily from Feb 25.

Therefore, he expressed worries that Malaysia would continue to suffer unless the vaccines are rolled out as soon as possible once they are certified safe and efficient.

Seeing that other countries such as the USA, United Kingdom, Canada and Singapore are already at various stages of inoculating their citizens this year, he said Malaysians ought to get the vaccinations as early as it is allowed.

“So, I believe there should be an extraordinary step taken during this extraordinary time to make sure we are not left behind, without compromising the safety and security of our people,” he added. — DayakDaily