Pfizer vaccine can now be used in M’sia

KUALA LUMPUR – Conditional registration for the COVID-19 vaccine produced by Pfizer company, Comirnaty Concentrate for Dispersion, has been approved for use in Malaysia, said Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

Dr Noor Hisham, through his official Twitter and Facebook posts, said the matter was approved by the 352nd Malaysia Drug Control Authority (PBKD) Meeting which convened today.

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“Even so, the company still needs to submit some important data within the allotted time before it is allowed to be used,” he said.

Earlier, Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Khairy Jamaluddin through his official Twitter expressed his congratulations to the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) on the decision for conditional registration for the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer.

“I was just informed by @DGHisham that NPRA has given conditional registration for the Pfizer vaccine. We are still waiting for a few additional info from Pfizer but this means it can be used in Malaysia.

“Congratulations National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) on the quick registration,” he said.

No longer than three weeks

Khairy meanwhile has said the second dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine would be given 21 days after the first one.

“So we will give 21 days apart, not any later than that. Unless there is a new clinical data,” he told reporters after launching the Malaysia Grand Challenge here today.

He was commenting on a warning by German firm BioNTech, which developed the vaccine with US giant Pfizer, that there is no data backing the “safety and efficacy” of delaying the second shot of its COVID-19 vaccine beyond three weeks, as some countries push back the jab to give more people their first dose.

He said the government is still in discussion with Russia to procure its COVID-19 vaccine and for the proposed transfer of technology in enhancing the country’s capacity in vaccine production.

“We are looking at Russia’s proposal because it adds value to our pharmaceutical capabilities,” he said.

Until to date, Malaysia has signed an agreement with Pfizer and BioNTech to obtain 12.8 million doses of vaccine. The country would also receive another 6.4 million doses of vaccine from AstraZeneca in addition to several other suppliers.

Evaluating feasibility

Election Commission (EC) chairman Datuk Abdul Ghani Salleh in a related development has said that The Pandemic Management Strategic Committee will be looking into the feasibility of holding the general election (GE) in the midst of the pandemic.

He said the committee comprises the National Security Council (NSC), the Ministry of Health (MoH), the National Disaster Management Agency (NADMA), the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) and other related agencies.

“This committee will conduct a risk assessment and submit recommendations to the government as to whether it is or is not appropriate to hold the GE,” he said in a statement, here today.

Last Wednesday, Abdul Ghani was quoted as saying that GE15 can be carried out smoothly if all parties work together and give full cooperation to comply with the new norms and COVID-19 Prevention Guidelines, even during this health crisis.

The EC will work with the MoH, NSC, NADMA and PDRM for any implementation of controls in line with any latest directives under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342) and the COVID-19 Prevention Guidelines will be strictly implemented in all electoral processes,” he added.