KUALA LUMPUR, April 5 — Malaysia’s Covid-19 vaccine demand currently exceeds supply, Khairy Jamaluddin said today, amid expected delays of the second dose for over 4,000 frontliners in Perak.
The science, technology, and innovation minister, during his weekly press conference on the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK) earlier this afternoon, said that only in July will the supply of coronavirus vaccines overtake demand.
“Supply schedule is still gradual at this point of time, but the delivery schedule is set to increase tremendously in July. And if we see that supply overtakes demand, that will start in about July and August when millions of doses come on the monthly basis,” Khairy said.
Khairy also added that Malaysia’s Covid-19 vaccination rates are based on delivery schedules given by vaccine manufacturers.
“As I said earlier, quite a lot of the vaccines will start coming in July. That is when we will see a significant increase in the number of doses that are going to be delivered from Pfizer as well as other vaccine manufacturers.”
CodeBlue reported earlier today that over 4,000 frontliners in Perak will get their second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at a later date, up to five to seven days later than their original dates from April 6 to 8, due to delayed delivery. Administration of the second Pfizer dose up to 28 days from the first, however, is still within the United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance that recommends a 42-day interval if the 21-day interval can’t be followed.
In a response to that, Khairy explained that vaccine delivery to states is based on the delivery schedule of vaccines to the country.
“So, between the April 8 to April 10, we will be receiving 177,840 doses of Pfizer vaccine, of which since the question was specific to the state of Perak, we will be sending 10,530 doses on April 8 to Perak, and subsequently on April 9 and April 10, when subsequent deliveries are made,” the vaccine minister said.
Khairy said that 4,680 doses will be delivered to Taiping Hospital, which is the vaccine storage centre, 3,510 doses to Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital in Ipoh, and 2,340 doses to Lumut Military Hospital.
The Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF) chairperson also said that as of now, the government will still encourage people to sign up for the Covid-19 vaccine voluntarily, but may revisit the policy in July when there will be more vaccines available.