SHAH ALAM, Feb 3 — Pharmaniaga Bhd (Pharmaniaga) assures the COVID-19 vaccine, CoronaVac produced by Chinese pharmaceutical company, Sinovac Life Sciences Co Ltd (Sinovac), is safe, effective and halal.

Pharmaniaga Research and Development Division head, Dr Badarulhisam Abdul Rahman, said the vaccine produced using inactive virus technology is the most effective and proven method forthe past 40 years.

“The same method is also used for the production of vaccines for dangerous diseases such as Polio and Hepatitis A. This technology has proven to be effective compared to other new technologies whose risks are not yet known,” he said when presenting the development of the vaccine virtually, yesterday.

Also participating in the presentation session was Pharmaniaga Group managing director, Datuk Zulkarnain Md Eusope.

However, Dr Badarulhisam said confusion about the effectiveness of the vaccine arose after clinical studies in the two countries showed Turkey had a score of 91.25 per cent while Brazil had 50.38 per cent.

He explained that the study in Turkey can be seen as a benchmark for the effectiveness of the CoronaVac vaccine because it was tested on the general population involving 13,000 individuals aged 18 and above compared to Brazil whichtested it on 13,060 health workers exposed to the COVID-19 virus daily.

“However, the study in Turkey will only be completed early this month. But we believe that the level of effectiveness will exceed 90 per cent, which is above the 50 per cent standard set by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for a vaccine to be registered,” he said.

Dr Badarulhisam added that through the clinical study, no serious side effects including ‘Vaccine Enhance Disease’ were detected after two doses of the vaccine were given to the participants and the majority only experienced mild reactions.

In the meantime, Zulkarnain said Pharmaniaga had researched the contents, formulas and methods  the vaccine was produced and was confident that it was halal to use as stated by the Indonesian Ulamak Council.

He also expects the CoronaVac vaccine to be approved by the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Division (NPRA) by the end of this month or early March before being distributed in April.

“According to the agreement, Pharmaniaga will supply 12 million doses of this vaccine. In the first month, we will supply one million doses of CoronaVac vaccine followed by two million doses in the next month to be distributed by the government,” he said.

Asked whether Pharmaniaga might sell the vaccine to the private sector, especially to industries for the use of their foreign workers, Zulkarnain said the matter wasdiscussed with the government.

“We are currently in talks with the government (to sell CoronaVac) because after supplying 12 million doses of the vaccine, Pharmaniaga will still have a supply of another two million doses. However, the government has requested that the vaccine be given to government-linked companies (GLCs) which are ‘economic fronliners’  as well as foreign workers and expatriates.

“Pharmaniaga is also gathering information about it and once completed, we will negotiate how it will be carried out. However, the distribution of vaccines for Malaysians is our priority at this time,” he said.

On Jan 12, Pharmaniaga signed an agreement with Sinovac to supply 14 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, the bottling process of which was done at a high-tech factory in Puchong, Selangor.

On Jan 26, Pharmaniaga signed an agreement to supply 12 million doses of CoronaVac COVID-19 vaccine to the Ministry of Health Malaysia.


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