Malaysia in final stages of COVAX negotiations

We are still looking into several clauses in the agreement and hope to sign the participation into the vaccine facility soon, says minister

pic by TMR FILE

THE government is in the final stages of negotiations to participate in the Covid-19 vaccine global access (COVAX) initiative.

Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar said discussions are being held between Malaysia and the Global Alliance for Vaccine and Immunisation, which is coordinating COVAX.

Malaysia is being represented by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (Mosti), Ministry of Health, Ministry of Finance (MoF) and the Attorney General’s Chamber.

“We are still looking into several clauses that need to be refined in the agreement with COVAX and we hope to sign the participation into the vaccine facility soon.

“However, I need to stress that COVAX is only a part of the measures needed for us to obtain the Covid-19 vaccine. We can still obtain the vaccine via bilateral negotiations with other companies and countries,” he said in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

The government also welcomes the participation from private entities in the procurement of the vaccine as well as the development of vaccine-producing facilities, including via a public-private partnership (PPP).

Khairy Jamaluddin said the PPP approach was discussed in the National Science Council meeting in July.

“Based on the list of Covid-19 vaccines from the World Health Organisation dated Nov 3, 2020, vaccines are being developed where 10 are in the third phase of clinical tests.

“Through the multi-pronged approach via Malaysia’s science diplomacy, several negotiations have been and are being finalised regarding worldwide vaccine development, including with China,” he said.

He said on Oct 13, the republic’s Foreign Affairs Minister Wang Yi announced that Malaysia is on the priority list to obtain the vaccine from China.

Khairy Jamaluddin previously said the procurement costs for the vaccine will be between US$5 and US$20 (RM83) per person.

He also said for the first supply of vaccine, which is expected to be available in the first quarter of next year, priority will be given to the health and safety frontliners such as doctors, nurses, police, and immigration and prison officers.

“The vaccine access to communities outside of the city and rural areas will be refined and also viewed as a basic need for public good,” he added.

Prior to this, Khairy Jamaluddin said Mosti had requested for RM3 billion from MoF to be allocated in the national Budget 2021 for the vaccine.

He had also said that data from several Covid-19 vaccine clinical tests would be analysed by year-end.