KUALA LUMPUR, June 30 — Malaysia’s Covid-19 vaccination programme risks delays amid an unrelenting epidemic, as AstraZeneca has not committed to delivering the government’s complete order by year end.
Malaysia directly procured 6.4 million doses from AstraZeneca that were manufactured in Thailand. The 6.4 million directly purchased AstraZeneca doses cover 10 per cent of Malaysia’s population in the country’s portfolio of coronavirus vaccines, that currently cover 130 per cent of the population.
Local pharmaceutical regulators, however, have not yet approved Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine that the government has procured to cover 10 per cent of the population, while CanSino’s single-shot vaccine, which covers 10.9 per cent of the population, has not yet been delivered.
Excluding Sputnik V and CanSino, the currently approved vaccines — Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca-Oxford, Sinovac, as well as shots from the global COVAX facility — cover about 109 per cent of Malaysia’s population.
“Over 828,000 doses of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine have been delivered into Malaysia to date. In addition, AstraZeneca is on track to deliver 6.4 million doses between now and early next year and will support the delivery of millions more through COVAX and donations,” AstraZeneca said in a statement today.
The pharmaceutical company added that 586,700 doses of its coronavirus vaccine are planned for delivery to Malaysia early next month, followed by additional deliveries in the weeks and months following.
“The latest delivery estimates for Malaysia demonstrate the value of the government, industry and others working together to support health and economic revival, as we continue to fight the pandemic and its impact,” said AstraZeneca Malaysia country president Dr Sanjeev Panchal.
Malaysia is expected to receive nearly five million Pfizer vaccine doses in total by July 2, comprising only about 11 per cent of the government’s 44.8 million order that covers 70 per cent of the population on a two-dose regimen.
The 828,000 doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine that have been delivered to Malaysia to date came from COVAX, which is separate from the 6.4 million direct AstraZeneca order.
Malaysia has requested 6.4 million coronavirus vaccine doses from COVAX, including 1.39 million AstraZeneca doses, with the rest requested from Johnson & Johnson and Novavax.
Vaccine Minister Khairy Jamaluddin told the press earlier today that on July 1 and 2, Malaysia is scheduled to receive donations of one million AstraZeneca doses from Japan and one million Pfizer doses from the United States.
The government has set a target of inoculating 80 per cent of the country’s population by December, with differing target completion dates of the national Covid-19 vaccination programme for different states.