KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 5 — The European Commission said it has yet to receive an application for approval to export Covid-19 vaccines to Malaysia, only receiving requests from Canada and the United Kingdom so far.
Miriam Garcia Ferrer, the European Commission spokeswoman for trade and agriculture, said the executive body of the European Union (EU) has received two vaccine export applications to Canada and one to the UK, all of which were approved.
“All of the three have been approved positively, so the export authorisation has been granted for the three,” Garcia Ferrer told a virtual press meet yesterday.
Malaysia’s Covid-19 vaccine tsar Khairy Jamaluddin — who was yesterday appointed to lead the national coronavirus inoculation campaign — said Tuesday that Putrajaya has asked Pfizer to request for immediate export approval from the government of Belgium, where vaccine doses for Malaysia are manufactured in a facility in Puurs.
Malaysia expects to receive delivery of a million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine by March, including shipments this month to kick off the national Covid-19 vaccine rollout.
Khairy’s office told CodeBlue this morning that US pharmaceutical company Pfizer will send Brussels their vaccine delivery application for Malaysia today.
The EU’s new export authorisation regime — scheduled until March 31 — requires vaccine developers to seek permission from the EU country where the vaccine is manufactured before supplying doses outside the bloc. The EU country, upon receiving an application for export authorisation, must also seek the European Commission’s agreement to export vaccines.
European Commission sources told CodeBlue separately that since the EU’s Covid-19 vaccine export restrictions were enforced from January 30, member states have handled the UK’s and Canada’s requests for vaccine deliveries very quickly.
“It proves that the system is working and that we will use it only in very limited cases,” they said.
“In particular, exports to third countries, including Malaysia, under existing Advance Purchase Agreements (APAs) will be safeguarded to the largest extent feasible.
“The EU is mindful of Advanced Purchase Authorisations contracted by Malaysia, and will endeavour to ensure that Malaysia’s expectations to obtain its deliveries will be met. We have made a strict call on all companies with APAs manufacturing in the EU to honour their obligations to deliver on their commitments.”
Note at 11:35am: The headline was amended to explain that it is Pfizer, not the Malaysian government, that is meant to send the European Commission the vaccine export application.
The story was also updated (paragraph 6) with comments from Khairy’s office.