Covid-19 vaccine between RM21 and RM83

Malaysia is in discussion to participate in the global Covid-19 vaccine allocation plan, COVAX

by S BIRRUNTHA / pic by RAZAK GHAZALI

THE government is in negotiations with a dozen of Covid-19 vaccine manufacturers, with procurement costs of between U$5 (RM21) and U$20 (RM83) per person.

Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar (picture) said the government is still discussing the procurement model for the Covid-19 vaccine as the exercise of buying products that have not been made or approved is unprecedented.

He said the government is still studying the deal, including all the terms and legal implications on the initial purchase of the vaccine.

“As for the price, we are looking at anywhere between US$5 and US$20 per person. It is an indicative price at the moment and it depends on the negotiations.

“There are some vaccines offered to us at a price of US$5 and there are also some which are more than US$20. We do not know yet because some vaccines have different doses and we need to study them first,” he said at a press conference after the launch of Redbeat Academy by AirAsia Digital in collaboration with Google LLC in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Khairy Jamaluddin added that the government has various strategies in obtaining the Covid-19 vaccine, including consulting with pharmaceutical companies in the third phase of vaccine development.

He said Malaysia is also in discussion to participate in the global Covid-19 vaccine allocation plan, COVAX, which is operated by the Global Vaccine Alliance (GAVI).

He said while Malaysia has also volunteered to be one of the clinical trial sites for the Covid-19 vaccine, the low number of infections in the country might be a hindrance for the project.

Previously, Khairy Jamaluddin said the country will finalise the Covid-19 vaccine selection by early 2021, and data from several Covid-19 vaccine clinical tests would be analysed at the end of this year.

Meanwhile, AirAsia Digital Engineering Sdn Bhd, in a partnership with Google LLC, has launched its Redbeat Academy yesterday as part of the group’s continued digital transformation journey.

AirAsia Digital is envisioned to build a future-ready next generation by providing a one-stop service in technology, leadership and innovation that will be a vital catalyst for the digital economy in Malaysia and the wider Asean.

The academy was officiated by Khairy Jamaluddin, in the presence of AirAsia Group Bhd executive chairman Datuk Kamarudin Meranun, AirAsia group CEO Tan Sri Dr Tony Fernandes, AirAsia Group president (AirAsia Digital) Aireen Omar and Google Malaysia head Marc Woo.

Initially, the academy was set up to upskill and cross-train AirAsia Allstars (employees) through a series of tech workshops in areas such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (MI), software engineering, cyber security, big data and infrastructure.

However, Redbeat Academy is now open to the public with the focus on mentoring the best in breed industry-ready professionals and producing problem-solvers using technology.

The academy will also work hand-in-hand and cross-share its resources and knowledge with Google.

Speaking at the launch, Fernandes said AirAsia has always embraced digitalisation and it is another milestone for the group as it launches the premier tech academy.

“Everyone needs to keep learning, growing and embracing the ever-changing tech landscape to ensure that we can stay relevant in this digital economy.

“I hope everyone will take this opportunity to learn new skill sets in tech, so we can together strive for greater heights as a nation,” he added.