PUTRAJAYA, Jan 8: Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin today said Malaysians will not be given the choice of which Covid-19 vaccine they want to take.
Launching the Malaysia Grand Challenge at his ministry, Khairy said it was impossible for Putrajaya to allow the public to decide on their choice of vaccine as it would be “a big logistical nightmare”.
Instead, he said, the vaccines will be allocated according to the government’s mapping plan, based on their storage requirements and the vaccination centres identified by the health ministry.
Khairy had previously announced that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, which must be kept in ultra-low temperatures, will be placed across 55 urban areas, and vaccines that can be stored under normal refrigerator temperatures will be deployed in more rural areas.
“My main point is that any vaccine registered by the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) is safe. I don’t want Malaysians to feel that ‘oh I got this vaccine, as opposed to this vaccine’.
“We will ensure that whatever it is, the vaccines we buy are registered and safe,” he said.
He said the type of vaccine will be recorded on people’s vaccination cards, so they could be given the same type for the second dosage.
The Malaysia Grand Challenge is an initiative by the science, technology and innovation ministry to provide five types of funding schemes worth RM80 million for small and medium enterprises (SME) and startups to enhance research, development, commercialisation and innovation.
The schemes aim to address the “grand challenges” faced by Malaysia, such as climate change, food and water security, energy sustainability, rapid urbanisation and sustainable economic growth.
Khairy said the government hoped to increase the country’s gross domestic expenditure on research and development from 1.08% to over 3% by 2030.
Interested applicants may visit the ministry website for more information on the schemes and their requirements.