KUALA LUMPUR, May 18 — The federal government’s agreements with Covid-19 vaccine manufacturers prioritise supplying vaccines it orders ahead of orders by other parties, including state governments, industries, or private hospitals, Khairy Jamaluddin said today.
The Coordinating Minister of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK) pointed out that the types of Covid-19 vaccines that state governments like Selangor are trying to procure are developed by the same pharmaceutical companies supplying PICK.
“Based on the terms of agreements between the federal government of Malaysia and the relevant vaccine manufacturers, the supply of vaccine stocks ordered must and will be prioritised for the federal government for the administration of PICK, before pharmaceutical companies can channel any vaccine supply to other parties, including state governments, industries, or private hospitals that make orders and purchases after the federal government, unless it is through a supplier that is not involved in PICK,” Khairy said in a statement today.
He added that state governments, however, are permitted to purchase their own supply of Covid-19 vaccines as long as these have been approved for use by the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA). So far, the NPRA has only approved the Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca-Oxford, and Sinovac coronavirus vaccines.
Khairy’s statement did not address Penang’s request for federal approval to receive a donation of two million doses of Sinovac’s Covid-19 vaccine from a private company. The Sarawak state government, on the other hand, announced last Sunday that it would receive within a week 500,000 doses of Sinovac’s vaccine that it had procured, while an additional 500,000 doses would be delivered after that.
Both the Selangor and Penang state governments are run by Pakatan Harapan, while the Sarawak state administration is Gabungan Parti Sarawak linked with the federal Perikatan Nasional government.
Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud, Selangor’s state executive councillor for public health, said yesterday that SELangkah, the state’s Covid-19 contact tracing app, is opening up registration to companies that are interested in purchasing coronavirus vaccines for their employees.
According to SELangkah Vax’s website, after employers register their interest for Covid-19 vaccination for their employees, a 50 per cent deposit is required to confirm booking. The balance 50 per cent of payment must be made at least 14 days before the vaccination date. The price and brand of Covid-19 vaccine offered to employers is not mentioned on the website.
“The Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF) wishes to reiterate our commitment on free and sufficient vaccine supply to all eligible individuals in each state in the administration of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK),” Khairy said today.
Khairy today also responded to the Vinod Sekhar Trust’s offer to donate Sinovac’s Covid-19 vaccine to PICK.
The Vibes, owned by the Petra Group, whose chairman and CEO is Vinod Sekhar, reported yesterday that Khairy had not responded to the Petra Group’s offer to donate some 200,000 Sinovac vaccines through its humanitarian arm, the Vinod Sekhar Trust.
“However, after checking with Sinovac in China and Pharmaniaga, which is the licence holder for the Sinovac vaccine in Malaysia, we found that the Sekhar Foundation did not make any application or purchase, or furnish any official documents related to this matter,” said Khairy.
“CITF wishes to clarify that there are no hindrances if the Sekhar Foundation or any party wants to make this honourable gesture, however it must be followed with action according to proper channels.”
The vaccine minister also announced that the Covid-19 Vaccine Candidate Selection Committee headed by Dr Kalaiarasu Peariasamy is currently evaluating the suitability of extending the dosage interval for Covid-19 vaccines in Malaysia, based on findings in other countries and responses from vaccine developers.
Singapore, which has been rolling out the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna coronavirus vaccines, is currently studying the possibility of extending the dosage interval to vaccinate more people with the first dose.
Khairy also urged vaccine recipients not to arrive too early at Covid-19 vaccination sites (PPV) to avoid congestion, like what was seen at a few PPV in recent days.
Individuals who are positive for Covid-19, suspected cases, close contacts, or individuals under surveillance are not permitted to enter PPV.
“If an individual is unable to attend their scheduled appointment, a new appointment date will be given. Each PPV has a wait list that will be contacted to replace any no-shows to reduce the risk of vaccine wastage,” said Khairy.