RM3b for Covid-19 vaccine to be included in special fund

pic by BERNAMA

THE RM3 billion allocation specifically for the Covid-19 vaccine will be included in the country’s special fund for the pandemic.

Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar (picture) said the matter will be explained by the finance minister during the wrap-up of the Supply Bill 2021.

“The amount of RM3 billion is an estimation based on the price spectrum that has been offered to countries, so we cannot give an accurate estimate at this time.

“However, I have asked for the estimated amount of RM3 billion to be prepared by the Finance Ministry (MoF), and the finance minister said it will be included in the Covid-19 special fund,” he said in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

He was responding to Chan Foong Hin (Pakatan Harapan-Kota Kinabalu) who asked for an explanation regarding the allocation for the vaccine as it is not specified in next year’s national budget.

The issue was raised by several MPs due to the lack of information on the allocation for the vaccine although Khairy Jamaluddin had repeatedly said an allocation will be provided.

Meanwhile, Khairy Jamaluddin said as of Nov 13, the World Health Organisation announced that there were 11 vaccine nominees currently in the third stage of clinical test.

“As of now, the government is communicating with 10 of the vaccine producers. Eight distributors were contacted directly, while the remaining two were done via the Covid-19 vaccine global access facility (Covax),” he said.

He said several negotiations are in the final stages and an official announcement will be made once they have sealed the deal on the matter.

“The negotiations include aspects of cooperation on various levels for the vaccine development such as research and development, scientific exchange, fill and finish development including procurement of the finished product.

“We cannot disclose specific details because we are still under non-disclosure agreement terms,” he said.

Earlier this month, Khairy Jamaluddin said the government was in the final stages of negotiations to participate in the Covax facility to obtain access to the supply of the Covid-19 vaccine.

He said discussions were being held between his ministry along with the Health Ministry, MoF and the Attorney General Chambers for Malaysia’s official participation in the facility.

The price for the vaccine is estimated to be between US$5 and US$20 (RM82.35) per person and he said it is an indicative price at the moment, depending on the negotiations.

The varying prices for the vaccine are due to the different doses available.