PETALING JAYA,Mar 29: Khairy Jamaluddin says a private vaccination programme may only start late in the year because of limited global Covid-19 supply.

The science, technology and innovation minister said he suspected that most of the delivery for the private market in Malaysia could only take place in July or late in the third or fourth quarter of the year.

He said a framework for private hospitals to purchase vaccines for a parallel private Covid-19 inoculation programme would soon be released by the government, adding that he encouraged private health care providers to try to procure their own supply.

However, in an interview with health news portal CodeBlue, he said as someone who has negotiated these contracts, the vaccines will be delivered very late.

“Even if they can secure a supply of Moderna vaccines, it will likely only be delivered in the third or fourth quarter.

“So if you want to wait that long, that’s fine, or if you want to go with the government programme and likely get a Pfizer vaccine, there’s a one in two chance that you get a Pfizer vaccine, then that’s your choice,” he said.

Currently, the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine has not been approved by the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA). Malaysia has only approved Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Sinovac vaccines so far.

Khairy also expressed his concerns with vaccine inequity if a private rollout is implemented too early, before widespread access to the national Covid-19 immunisation programme.

“I think as we enter Phase Two and Three and more vaccines are available freely through the government programme, then the issue of vaccine equity becomes less and as I indicated earlier, the private market can start to operate then, as long as people have decent access to the public programme, which is free.

“Not before then because I think that will raise a lot of issues as far as vaccine equity is concerned,” he said.

At present, Phase Two covers those who are at high risk of infection, such as senior citizens, the disabled and those who have chronic illnesses. It is scheduled to run from April to August.


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