KUALA LUMPUR, April 14 — Khairy Jamaluddin today attributed Malaysia’s slow Covid-19 vaccination rate to insufficient supply, due to rich countries buying doses three to five times more than their citizens need.
The vaccine minister also claimed that many pharmaceutical companies prioritised wealthy countries “for obvious reasons” that he did not specify.
“That is also why Malaysia has had to balance our Covid-19 vaccine portfolio to include Pfizer, AstraZeneca but also those from non-Western countries like Sinovac (China),” Khairy said in a statement.
“Based on delivery schedules we have received from our suppliers, we will start getting a more steady and ample supply of vaccines from June onwards. This is when I project mass vaccinations will be in full swing.
“For now, demand outstrips supply. Most importantly, the graph shows that we will have enough supplies coming to ensure we hit our 80 per cent population target before the end of the year. This is according to the current portfolio and plan we announced in February.”
The Malaysian government has purchased Covid-19 vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca, Russia’s Gamaleya Institute, China’s Sinovac and CanSino, as well as from global vaccine sharing plan COVAX.
The Special Committee on Ensuring Access to Covid-19 Vaccine Supply (JKJAV) only projects coronavirus vaccine supply in Malaysia to meet demand in June, assuming that individual registrations for inoculation remain at about nine million. Vaccine supply is expected to cover 80 per cent of the Malaysian population by October.
“So while I know everyone is anxious about getting their Covid-19 vaccination, I would also like to manage expectations with the reality of vaccine availability. I will continue to push for more vaccine supplies to arrive quicker,” Khairy said.
As of yesterday, Malaysia has administered 1,050,138 out of 1.2 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine received.
Al-Jazeera reported a study by ONE, an anti-poverty group, that showed the world’s richest nations have bought one billion more doses of Covid-19 vaccines than needed by their citizens.
United Nations secretary-general Antonio Guterres reportedly said last February that only 10 countries have so far administered 75 per cent of all Covid-19 vaccinations, while at least 130 nations have not yet received a single dose of the coronavirus vaccine.