Govt to look at vaccine portfolios

The queries include several aspects of clinical data such as the vaccines’ success rate to different groups of people, says minister

pic by BERNAMA

THE government is requesting for the portfolios and efficacy results of Covid-19 vaccines from pharmaceutical companies in the US, China, Russia and several European countries who are leading the production of the vaccines.

Science, Technology and Innovation (Mosti) Minister Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar (picture) told the Dewan Rakyat yesterday that the queries include several aspects of clinical data such as the vaccines’ success rate to different groups of people.

“We will not buy the vaccines from one source because there is no pharmaceutical company that could meet the total demand of a country.

“We will look at the clinical data from the vaccine manufacturers. For example, if the clinical data show more success rate in senior citizens, then the vaccine will be given specifically for the elderly,” he said during the winding-up session of the Supply Bill 2021.

He added that Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin is expected to announce the acquisition of the first batch of vaccines, which is expected to arrive in Malaysia in the first quarter of 2021 (1Q21).

The procurement of the vaccines is expected to cost RM3 billion, but is still subject to the final cost of the production.

The number of vaccines that the government procures will cover 70% of Malaysia’s population, a target which is required to produce herd immunity, Khairy Jamaluddin said.

“We will prioritise adults, especially the frontliners, in receiving the vaccines, not children.

“Most of the vaccines have not been tested on children under 12 years old, and they will be among the 30% who will receive the injections.

“The government will ensure the safety of these vaccines and will not compromise the health of Malaysians,” he said.

Based on the World Health Organisation’s draft landscape of Covid-19 candidate vaccines, as at Nov 3, there were 47 vaccines in the clinical evaluation stage and 155 were in the pre-clinical evaluation stage.

Among the contenders are China National Pharmaceutical Group Co Ltd, Sinovac Biotech Ltd, CanSino Biologics Inc, AstraZeneca plc, Moderna Inc and Pfizer Inc, which are in the third phase of the biomedical clinical trials.

Locally, the government is finalising its participation in the Covid-19 Global Vaccine Access facility, which will cost about RM94.08 billion.

As Malaysia has yet to have facilities on vaccine production, Khairy Jamaluddin said the National Science Council is developing a roadmap to make Malaysia as one of the human vaccine producers in 10 years.

The roadmap will be completed in 2Q21, Khairy Jamaluddin said.

He also said the ministry has approved RM2.1 million allocation through the Mosti Combating Covid-19 Fund to Universiti Malaya for research and development of Covid-19 vaccine.

“The ministry has allocated funds to enable Malaysia to produce its own vaccines and reduce the dependency on vaccine supply produced by other countries,” he said.