Malaysia, China cooperate on Covid-19 vaccine

Both countries will support and encourage their enterprises to establish all-round cooperation in vaccine R&D and supply


MALAYSIA and China have signed an agreement to cooperate in a safe and effective vaccine development.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry (MoFA) and the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry (MOSTI) in a combined statement yesterday said the agreement gives Malaysia a priority access to Covid-19 vaccines developed by China, knowledge and expertise sharing, as well as facilitate scientific and technological capabilities to advance vaccine development in both countries.

“Both governments have further agreed that both countries will support and encourage their enterprises to establish all-round cooperation in vaccine research and development (R&D) and supply,” the ministries said.

They added that both countries will also support the participation of their public and private sectors, including universities, institutions, societies and organisations, in joint collaborative projects.

The agreement will be in force for an initial period of five years and shall be automatically extended for one year at a time, upon mutual agreement by both parties.

It was signed virtually by MOSTI Minister Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Zhigang who had agreed to increase collaboration in addressing the Covid-19 pandemic through science diplomacy.

The agreement will be operationalised under the supervision of a high level committee, which will be chaired by MoFA Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein (right), and State Councillor of the State Council and Minister of Foreign Affairs for the People’s Republic of China Wang Yi (left).

On Monday, Khairy Jamaluddin said the government was communicating with 10 vaccine producers. “Eight distributors were contacted directly, while the remaining two were done via the Covid-19 vaccine global access facility (Covax),” he said in the Dewan Rakyat sitting.

He said several negotiations were in the final stages and an official announcement would be made once they sealed the deal.

“The negotiations include aspects of cooperation on various levels for the vaccine development such as R&D, 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,” Khairy Jamaluddin said.

He added that a RM3 billion fund has been allocated specifically for the Covid-19 vaccine.

“The amount 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, and the finance minister said it will be included in the Covid-19 special fund,” he said in a response to Chan Foong Hin (Pakatan Harapan-Kota Kinabalu).

Read our earlier report here