KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 7 — Issues over supply of COVID-19 vaccine supply faced by pharmaceutical company Pfizer as claimed by an international media will not affect its supply for Malaysia, which is expected to be made during the first quarter of next year.
Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar said according to the media report, this problem would only affect this year’s production.
“I am aware of the supply issues, but the same media report also stated that the problem would only affect the 2020 supply. As far as I know, it does not affect the supply for the Malaysian government next year,” he said at a question and answer session at the Dewan Rakyat sitting here today.
He was responding to a supplementary question from Ahmad Fahmi Mohamed Fadzil (PH-Lembah Pantai on whether the vaccine supply chain issues as reported by Reuters would affect the supply of COVID-19 vaccines to Malaysia.
Khairy, however, said if there are disruptions in the supply chain, the government will identify other vaccine portfolios from various companies as relying on one company could open to risks of not getting sufficient vaccine supply for Malaysians.
Commenting on the additional costs that may be incurred in addition to the RM3 billion allocation, Khairy said each agreement with vaccine manufacturers would take into account costs such as transportation and storage.
“Our agreement with Pfizer for example, the costs we have paid for each dose also cover transportation that will be borne by the company,” he said.
Responding to the original question, Khairy said has so far signed two agreements to secure enough supply of COVID-19 vaccine for 30 per cent of the population.
“The first agreement was with the global COVAX Facility through the Optional Purchase agreement, signed on Nov 23 which guarantees a vaccine supply for 10% of the population, while the second deal was an initial purchase agreement with Pfizer, inked on Nov 24 to provide the vaccine supply for 20 per cent of the population (12.8 million doses),” he said.
He said the government will not compromise the safety and efficacy of the vaccines procured and the final decision on the usage of a vaccine will only be done after it is registered and approved by the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) under the Ministry of Health.
The 70 per cent target of Malaysian population to get the Covid-19 vaccine in the first quarter of 2021, will focus on adults to enable the country to reach the herd immunity threshold under the National Immunisation Plan.
To achieve the remaining target, Khairy said the government are in talks with other COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing companies.