Don’t Wait For Private Covid-19 Vaccine Rollout: APHM

Private hospitals are only expected to procure Covid-19 vaccines separate from the government programme after September or October this year.

KUALA LUMPUR, June 4 — The Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia (APHM) today told the public to get vaccinated under the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK) instead of waiting for a private inoculation drive.

APHM stated that their member hospitals are expected to procure vaccines — separately from the public rollout — only after September or October this year, due to vaccine scarcity and lengthy registration process by local regulators. 

“We understand that at this current moment the availability of vaccines are limited and based on the current numbers of infected persons and the infectivity rate, the importance of urgent vaccination for all categories of age is essential to achieve an early herd immunity,” APHM president Dr Kuljit Singh said in a statement today.

Yesterday, Vaccine Minister Khairy Jamaluddin stated that state government and private hospitals are allowed to purchase Covid-19 vaccines that are not being used in PICK, including China’s Sinopharm and the US’ Moderna Covid-19 vaccines.

However, Khairy noted that before purchasing the World Health Organization (WHO) approved Covid-19 vaccines, parties planning to buy these shots should register the vaccines with the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA).

“It would be rather futile to wait for these privately procured vaccines if the aim is to enhance herd immunity, unless there are some changes made to the approval system,” Dr Kuljit said. 

According to Dr Kuljit, private hospitals are now working with the federal government in the national coronavirus vaccination programme. 

Covid-19 vaccines administered by private clinics, hospitals, and other private health care facilities under PICK are supplied and paid for by the federal government so that vaccination is free for the general public. ProtectHealth Corporation, a fully-owned company under the Ministry of Health, pays private medical practitioners RM14 per dose for their inoculation services under the government’s Covid-19 immunisation programme.

“We feel at this point of time our contribution to assist the government in this way is more realistic than trying to procure our own vaccines,” said Dr Kuljit.

“In the future, should there be a yearly vaccination programme providing booster doses for Covid-19, the private hospitals will then be ready with various types of vaccines for private consumption.”

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