KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 13 — A Covid-19 vaccine from China may be deployed in Malaysia by the end of the year, Muhyiddin Yassin said today.
“Earlier, I had a virtual bilateral discussion with the China’s Foreign Affairs Minister. We discussed the cooperation measures between China and Malaysia in terms of China’s assistance in providing vaccine supply,” the prime minister said in a virtual press conference today.
“As we all know, China is the leading country in conducting research on vaccines. I hope, maybe by the end of the year, we’ll be able to access the vaccine after the third phase testing is done.”
Muhyiddin stated that China has agreed to prioritise Malaysia as a recipient of its coronavirus vaccines. Earlier today, Malaysia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Hishammuddin Hussein tweeted the outcome of a virtual meeting with his Chinese counterpart on Covid-19 vaccine supply and other matters.
“I would like to inform you that China has agreed to prioritise Malaysia as the recipient of the vaccine that they have developed. Although the production process is still ongoing, the agreement between Malaysia and China is still an important development in our country’s efforts to deal with this pandemic completely,” Hishammuddin stated in a tweet today.
The prime minister also announced that Malaysia has decided to join the global COVAX Covid-19 vaccine access plan co-led by the World Health Organization (WHO) by making an initial payment of RM40 million.
“In order to join COVAX, we have to pay a huge amount of money to obtain a vaccine, which is available for only ten per cent of the total population.”
The prime minister claimed that the COVAX Facility would only provide Malaysia three million vaccine doses for three million residents in Malaysia; the COVAX Facility actually operates on a two-dose regimen, which means that vaccinating 10 per cent of Malaysia’s population, or three million people, amounts to six million doses.
He stated that the COVAX Facility — led by WHO; Gavi, the vaccine alliance; and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) — paves the way for Malaysia to pay RM42 million first and later to buy vaccine doses at RM600 million.
“In the initial stage, I have decided to pay 40 million ringgit and the balance amount of money, we have to negotiate,” Muhyiddin added.
Earlier, CodeBlue estimated that Malaysia would be required to make payment of US$135.04 million (RM558.46 million) by October 9 to vaccinate 20 per cent of its population (6.4 million people) on a two-dose regimen through COVAX, comprising a down payment of US$20.48 million (RM84.7 million) and financial guarantee of US$115.46 million (RM473.76 million). This payment, under COVAX’s Committed Purchase arrangement, is based on an all-inclusive price of US$10.55 (RM44) per dose, or US$21.10 (RM88) per person.
At the same time, the prime minister also stated that Malaysia can make its own bilateral agreements outside COVAX, such as with China’s state-owned pharmaceutical company Sinopharm or British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, to obtain Covid-19 vaccines for Malaysia.