KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 24 — The National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme is expected to be completed before the end of this year, ahead of its projected completion date in February next year.
The programme’s coordinating minister, Khairy Jamaluddin said the confidence was based on the level of efficiency and professionalism of the Health Ministry (MOH) and if the vaccine arrives on schedule.
In addition, during the third phase, Mega Vaccination Centres would be established, including in stadiums and conference centres, which will enable more people to be vaccinated at one time.
“However, it will all depend on whether we are able to secure the vaccine according to schedule.
“We have signed agreements with several companies including Pfizer, but we still rely on the capacity of their manufacturing facilities abroad… if they fulfil the agreement or contract, I believe and am confident we can complete this before the end of this year,” he said through a video call on the Bicara Naratif programme on RTM yesterday.
Khairy, who is also the Science, Technology and Innovation Minister, said currently besides Pfizer, Malaysia has agreements with four other vaccine manufacturers abroad, namely Sinovac from China, AstraZeneca (United Kingdom), Gamaleya (Sputnik V) from Russia and the single dose vaccine CamSinoBIO (China) which has yet to be assessed by the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA).
“Information and date issued by the vaccine manufacturers must be based on research conducted overseas that prove that the vaccine is safe and effective… NPRA will only approve it when it is satisfied with vaccine.
“If NPRA approves all the vaccines for use in Malaysia, then our supply will increase and we would be able to speed up the immunisation process,” he said.
He said the government also suggested procuring the US-made single dose vaccine by Johnson & Johnson, and that single dose vaccines might be used in rural areas where accessibility maybe difficult for two dose vaccinations.
Regarding the Mega Vaccination Centres, Khairy said it would be established in the third phase (public phase) as it would be the biggest phase in the programme.
“Phase three will also involve the scheduling of the largest amounts of vaccine deliveries, if today it involves only hundreds of thousands, but in the middle of the year when phase three begins, the schedule of vaccine deliveries will reach up to millions, that is why we need a large vaccination centre to complete the vaccinations without having to store the vaccines at vaccine storage centres,” he said.