Gavi Welcomes Malaysia After Signing COVAX Vaccine Plan

Malaysia has signed a commitment agreement with the COVAX Facility, choosing the Optional Purchase arrangement that enables participants to decide which vaccines to buy.

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 25 — Malaysia has signed a legally binding agreement with the COVAX Facility, a global plan co-led by the World Health Organization (WHO) to expand access to Covid-19 vaccines.

Malaysia was included in a list of countries that signed commitment agreements with the COVAX Facility as of November 24, according to Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance, that is coordinating COVAX along with WHO and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).

“Very pleased to welcome Malaysia and North Macedonia to the #COVAX Facility! With 189 economies involved, COVAX aims to ensure all economies have access to safe #COVID19 vaccines, regardless of their capacity or buying power. #OneWorldProtected,” Gavi CEO Seth Berkley tweeted today.

Malaysia joins Singapore and Brunei among Southeast Asian nations that have signed commitment agreements to purchase doses from the COVAX Facility that offers Covid-19 vaccines based on an all-inclusive price of US$10.55 (RM43) per dose, or US$21.10 (RM86) per person for a two-dose regimen.

Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin told Parliament last Thursday that the Malaysian government would make US$22,656,200 (RM94.08 million) upfront payment to the COVAX Facility to cover 10 per cent of the Malaysian population.

He added that Malaysia has chosen the Optional Purchase arrangement that enables participants to decide which vaccines to buy, rather than the Committed Purchase arrangement. However, COVAX has warned participating economies that deciding not to purchase a particular candidate may delay the waiting time for doses, especially at the initial phase with limited quantities of a few available approved vaccines.

The candidate vaccine by Oxford University and AstraZeneca — which shows 70 per cent average effectiveness across two dosing regimens, according to an interim analysis of clinical trials — is part of COVAX.

BBC reported that the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna experimental Covid-19 vaccines are not yet part of the COVAX portfolio, though discussions are reportedly ongoing. Pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Moderna have separately declared that interim results of Phase 3 clinical trials showed their candidate vaccines were 90 per cent and 94.5 per cent effective in preventing Covid-19 infection.

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