Gov’t has communicated with 10 vaccine producers

Photo used for illustration purposes only

KUALA LUMPUR – The government has communicated with 10 COVID-19 vaccine producers following a notification by the World Health Organisation (WHO) that there are 11 COVID-19 vaccine candidates in phase 3 clinical trial, as of last Nov 13.

Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Khairy Jamaluddin said communications with eight of the producers was made directly, while the other two was through the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access Facility (COVAX).

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He said some of the discussions are in the final stage and an official announcement would be made when everything has been finalised.

“The discussion covers aspects of cooperation in various stages of vaccine development such as R&D, exchange of scientists, fill and finish development (transfer of technology, logistics, cold chain), including the purchase of vaccines (finished products) as a guarantee of access to vaccine supply for the country,” he said during the questions for oral answers session in the Dewan Rakyat today.

He was responding to a question from Chan Foong Hin (PH-Kota Kinabalu) who wanted to know whether the ministry had made any order to import vaccines from companies from China, such as Cansino, Sinovac and Sinopharm , or the United Kingdom, such as AstraZeneca, and whether the ministry would set the order of priority for COVID-19 vaccination as being done in Indonesia.

Khairy said through participation in COVAX, Malaysia would have access to the supply of COVID-19 vaccine of 10 per cent of the country’s population and the government was working to get another 60 per cent to meet the national immunisation target for herd immunity to up to 70 per cent of the country’s population.

The government, he said, was also working to get vaccine access as early as the first or second quarter of next year depending on the approval from the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA).

He said NPRA will ensure that a vaccine passes the stipulated strict conditions, covering its safety and effectiveness through data on the clinical trial that was conducted.

Meanwhile, on the list of immunisation priorities, Khairy said the Special Committee on COVID-19 Vaccine Supply Access (JKJAV), set up last Oct 14 , had agreed to divide it into three groups, namely the frontliners, involving staff of the Ministry of Health (MOH) and agencies not under MOH, such as the police , Malaysian Armed Forces, Immigration Department and others, in the first group.

The second is for high-risk groups, such as individuals with co-morbid and seniors citizens, and the third involves other adult population.

Details on the groups are being made and the announcement is expected to be made during the first quarter of next year.

— BERNAMA