KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 4 — Khairy Jamaluddin said he will be briefing Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Malaysia’s Covid-19 vaccine procurement strategy and cost in Parliament tomorrow.
The minister of science, technology and innovation shared a statement by 20 scientists, doctors, and concerned individuals published by CodeBlue today, titled “Covid-19 is dangerous, not vaccines”, that highlighted concerns on misinformation going around about Covid-19 vaccines.
The statement also pointed out that the vaccine procurement should be addressed with full transparency and public accountability through executive oversight by the PAC, as well as by the Parliamentary Select Committee on Health, Science and Innovation.
“Very good statement,” Khairy responded to the joint statement endorsed by former Health directors-general Dr Abu Bakar Suleiman and Dr Ismail Merican, as well as infectious disease experts Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman and Dr Christopher Lee, among others.
“Legislative scrutiny is critical for vaccine confidence.”
Medical experts, in their statement “Covid-19 is dangerous, not vaccines”, countered vaccine hesitancy in Malaysia, as they advocated Covid-19 vaccination and noted that it is far more harmful to one’s health to contract Covid-19 than to take an approved vaccine for the disease.
Previously, Khairy had mentioned that he will brief the PAC on the deals made by Malaysia with Covid-19 vaccine manufacturers if the committee members agree to a non-disclosure agreement, after many people, including members of the powerful Parliament committee, asked the government to disclose the cost incurred in procuring individual vaccines from different companies.
Khairy said that he was not able to publicly disclose the details of the agreement as the government has signed non-disclosure agreements with the pharmaceutical companies. Putrajaya has so far purchased Covid-19 vaccines from Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and the global COVAX Facility to cover 40 per cent of the population, with a million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech shot scheduled to arrive in February.
He reportedly said that the Covid-19 Vaccine Supply Access Guarantee Committee would finalise this Thursday the country’s national Covid-19 vaccination plan, including details on which hospitals would be registered as vaccination sites, and the transportation and storage of vaccines.
Health Minister Dr Adham Baba was quoted saying that the first phase of Malaysia’s Covid-19 immunisation campaign starting next month would target inoculating about a million Malaysians first, mainly frontline workers and high-risk groups like people with chronic diseases, such as diabetes, and kidney, heart, and lung diseases.