Pfizer woes will not affect our vaccine supply, says Khairy

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KUALA LUMPUR: The problems faced by pharmaceutical company Pfizer in the supply of Covid-19 vaccine will not affect the shipments to Malaysia, which are expected to begin during the first quarter of next year.

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Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said that, according to an international media report, the supply problem would only affect this year’s production.

“I am aware of the supply issues, but the same media report also said that the problem would only affect the 2020 supply. As far as I know, it does not affect the supply for Malaysia next year,” he said during the question-and-answer session at the Dewan Rakyat.

He was responding to a supplementary question from Fahmi Fadzil (PH-Lembah Pantai) on whether the vaccine supply chain issues as reported by Reuters would affect the supply of the vaccines to Malaysia.

He said, however, that if there are disruptions in the supply chain, the government will identify vaccine portfolios from other companies as relying on one company could lead to risks of insufficient vaccine supply for Malaysians.

Commenting on the additional costs that may be incurred, on top of the RM3 billion allocation, Khairy said each agreement with vaccine manufacturers would take into account costs such as transportation and storage.

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“In our agreement with Pfizer, for example, the cost of each dose also covers transportation,” he said.

Responding to the original question, Khairy said the government has so far signed two agreements to secure enough supply of vaccine for 30% of the population.

“The first agreement was with the global Covax facility through the optional purchase agreement, signed on Nov 23, which guarantees supply for 10% of the population.

“The second deal was an initial purchase agreement with Pfizer, inked on Nov 24, to provide vaccine supply for another 20% of the population (12.8 million doses),” he said.

He said the government will not compromise on the safety and efficacy of the vaccines procured, and the final decision on the use of a vaccine will only be made after it is registered and approved by the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency under the health ministry.

Meanwhile, he said the target to have 70% of the population vaccinated in the first quarter of 2021 under the National Immunisation Plan will focus on adults to enable the country to reach herd immunity threshold.

He said the government is in talks with other vaccine manufacturing companies to achieve the remaining target. -FMT

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