KUALA LUMPUR, April 27 — The government increased allocations for Covid-19 vaccines, up to RM3.5 billion, to procure booster shots and to cover adolescents below 18, Khairy Jamaluddin said today.
In a statement by the coordinating minister of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK), Khairy explained that the cost of procuring coronavirus vaccines increased from RM2.05 billion last December to cover 82.8 per cent of the population to RM3.16 billion in February to cover 110 per cent of the population.
The increase in coverage was to take into account export restrictions, raw materials, manufacturing capacity, and regulatory approvals.
“With the announcement from several vaccine suppliers that clinical trials are being conducted on teenagers, the government has also made an initial decision to increase the supply of vaccines for distribution to these groups when approval is given later,” Khairy said in a statement today.
“The government has also decided to procure additional supplies as buffer stocks if additional booster doses are required. Thus, although currently the procurement price is estimated at RM3.16 billion, it depends on an increase in supply by taking into account the provisions of vaccine for adolescents and buffer stocks, up to the ceiling of RM3.5 billion set by the Ministry of Finance (MOF),” the vaccine minister added.
Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson have started including teenagers between 12 and 17 in their Covid-19 vaccine clinical trials. Pfizer has recruited over 2,000 teenagers and is using the same dose and vaccinating them at the same interval as the adult dosing regimen, which is three weeks apart.
Khairy also pointed out that coronavirus vaccines like Russia’s Sputnik V and China’s CanSino are still being evaluated by the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) and have yet to be registered in Malaysia.
“If these vaccines do not get approval or take too long, the government has the option of not proceeding with those deals without any financial implications.”
Khairy also clarified that the additional RM2 billion allocation for the Covid-19 vaccination programme announced by the prime minister last March was to cover the operating expenditure of the rollout, whereas the initial RM3 billion sum announced last year was for vaccine procurement.
He added that the extra allocation took into account requests from all state governments during their engagement sessions.
“This includes rental and utility cost for over 600 vaccination centres (PPV) in non-Ministry of Health (MOH) facilities (public halls, stadiums, public places), consumables and supplies, cleaning and sanitation, volunteer consolations, and outsourcing of private medical practitioners,” Khairy said.
In his statement, the science, technology, and innovation minister revealed the breakdown of the RM5 billion allocation for PICK, as follows:
- vaccine procurement and logistics (RM3.5 billion)
- rental and utilities (RM333 million)
- equipment, consumables, and implementation (RM260 million)
- cleaning and sanitisation (RM100 million)
- honorarium and allowance for non-health volunteers (RM200 million)
- data integration and appointment system (RM70 million)
- community outreach programmes and vaccine advocacy (RM55 million)
- honorarium for health volunteers (RM147 million)
- immunisation surveillance and system upgrades (RM15 million)
- external sources of private medical practitioners (RM210 million)
- contingencies (RM110 million)
“YAB Prime Minister on March 18, 2021, in his announcement of the Strategic Programme to Empower the People and the Economy (Pemerkasa) has stated that the allocation of the implementation of PICK of RM5 billion — an increase of RM2 billion compared to the allocation of RM3 billion announced during the 2021 Budget speech. This allocation will be funded through the National Trust Fund (KWAN),” Khairy added.
Previously, when Budget 2021 was presented at the Dewan Rakyat, Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim questioned the government on where the RM3 billion allocation for Covid-19 vaccines was listed in the Budget.
Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz clarified yesterday that the government will instead be using the money from KWAN, the country’s trust fund mainly contributed by oil and gas giant Petronas, and that the initial RM3 billion was never allocated in the Budget.