Vaccine Supply Short, But Enough To Start Phase 2: Khairy

Developed countries’ greediness in purchasing five times more Covid-19 vaccines than what they need has caused slower vaccine supply for developing nations, including Malaysia, says Khairy Jamaluddin.

KUALA LUMPUR, April 12 — Malaysia has sufficient vaccine supply to begin Phase Two of the national Covid-19 vaccination programme in a week, Khairy Jamaluddin said today.

According to the vaccine minister, Malaysia has received some 1.2 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines comprising more than one million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine and 200,000 finished doses of Sinovac’s vaccine. 

“In April, we will be receiving more supply on a weekly basis amounting to 712,530 doses. We are also looking at an additional 200,000 finished product vaccine [doses] coming from Sinovac, from the China factory. This increase in supply should be sufficient to finish Phase One and to also start Phase Two,” Khairy told a virtual press conference today.

Phase One targets 647,398 individuals frontline workers (who would require nearly 1.3 million doses on a two-dose regimen), while the second phase of the national Covid-19 immunisation programme targets 9.4 million high-risk individuals. 

The scheduled incoming vaccine deliveries will then cover about 406,000 people under Phase Two.

Khairy explained that currently, Malaysia is still short of coronavirus vaccine supply as the delivery schedule from manufacturers is infrequent, causing a slow rate of vaccination. 

“The vaccine supply will increase in June. That is still under discussion. The global vaccine supply chain is experiencing various problems and challenges,” added the science, technology and innovation minister. 

According to Khairy, Malaysia will receive 133,380 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on April 14, followed by 31,590 doses and 12,870 doses in the next consecutive days, totalling 177,840 doses by the end of the week. 

“We are working hard and trying to speed up the delivery. This is dependent and contingent on the delivery schedule.” 

Khairy also noted that developed countries have purchased five times more Covid-19 vaccines than needed by their population. 

“That greediness by some developed countries is one of the reasons for developing countries to face shortage of vaccine supply for the time being.”

Malaysia initially set a target to administer 160,000 Covid-19 vaccine doses per day from June onwards as the country aimed to begin Phase Two of  Covid-19 inoculation on April 19 and Phase Three from May onward.

Besides vaccine supply challenges, the Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF) also foresees other issues during Phase Two and Three that target high-risk individuals and the general public respectively, such as logistics problems, manpower issues, and problems of people getting to vaccination centres.

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