KUALA LUMPUR, June 25 — The Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia (APHM) today urged the government to allow all approved Covid-19 vaccines in the private market.
The private hospitals’ group said the government should not limit Covid-19 vaccine brands for the private market as people who are willing to pay should be given a choice to choose the desired vaccines.
“We urge the government to reconsider the decision to confine only a certain brand or type of vaccine to the private sector in August as this will fail to fulfil the primary reason for private vaccination,” said APHM president Dr Kuljit Singh today.
“The private sector would be very cautious if the type of vaccines they pay for is limited as its common knowledge that the acceptability of vaccines internationally varies largely on the source and type of vaccines.”
China, which earlier said that it would only approve Chinese-made vaccines for the country’s Covid-19 vaccine passport, recently allowed the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson shots too.
Countries under the European Union plan to open their borders for travellers from Europe in July by allowing selected coronavirus vaccines to be included in their new digital Covid-19 vaccine passport.
Countries like France, Greece, Croatia, Spain, Cyprus, Portugal and Germany have a different list of Covid-19 vaccines to be incorporated in their vaccine passports.
Generally, the European countries accept mRNA vaccines — Pfizer-BioNTech and Modewrna — as well as the AstraZeneca-Oxford jab, while only a few approve Russia’s Sputnik V and Chinese vaccines.
Dr Kuljit, who sees Covid-19 vaccination as the long-term solution to curb coronavirus transmission, said: “With this in mind, it will be only logical that private vaccination should be open to all types and brands of vaccines as the consumers will pay based on their selected choice.”
Yesterday, Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin announced that Covid-19 vaccines will enter the private market by August.
He said that by August, there may be some companies who will be approved to bring in some Covid-19 vaccines from China for a private vaccination programme, noting that Sinopharm’s shot is intended for registration in Malaysia.
However, Khairy did not reveal any other Covid-19 vaccine brands that may possibly enter the Malaysian private market.
Besides that, Dr Kuljit also supported the intention of the government to allow private Covid-19 vaccination programmes, saying this would contribute to reviving the country’s economy soon and be able to fulfill the needs of individuals required to travel abroad for business purposes.
Dr Kuljit however acknowledged the difficulty of having all Covid-19 vaccines in the private market now as there is a global shortage of vaccines and unfair international distribution of vaccines to many parts of the world, including Malaysia.
“When commercialisation of vaccines is commenced its key that there is an assortment of different types of vaccines made available in order for the public to choose accordingly to fit their needs.
“The issue of unfair distribution and inequality of the vaccine will not arise anymore in August as most of the population would have been vaccinated, particularly those who are front liners, vulnerable and with low economic status.”
Khairy yesterday projected that 40 per cent of Malaysia’s total population will be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 by the end of August, in line with the National Recovery Plan.