Vaccine price will be less than RM100, says Mosti’s Khairy

The pricing of the Pfizer vaccine is covered by a non-disclosure agreement as each country negotiates directly with the pharmaceutical company

by LYDIA NATHAN / pic by BERNAMA

THE Covid-19 vaccine will definitely cost less than RM100, according to Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar (picture).

“I can categorically confirm that it is definitely less than the RM100 per dose as assumed by the state assemblyman.

“The pricing of the Pfizer vaccine is covered by a non-disclosure agreement as each country negotiates directly with the pharmaceutical company,” Khairy said in a statement.

“Suffice it to say, we are satisfied with the terms and pricing that we have agreed upon. The terms we have reached protects Malaysia’s interests both financially and with regards to the safety of the vaccine,” he added.

Khairy said this in response to Sungai Pelek assembly-person Ronnie Liu who raised concerns about the decision of the government to purchase the vaccine from US pharmaceutical firm, Pfizer Inc.

Last Friday, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced that the government signed a deal with the pharmaceutical for 12.8 million doses of its vaccine.

The government has set aside at least RM3 billion solely for this purpose.

Khairy said Malaysia has been in negotiation talks with vaccine manufacturers since April 2020, when the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (Mosti) announced its science diplomacy strategy.

“It is important to note that not any one pharmaceutical company will be able to supply vaccines for the entire Malaysian population. This is why the multi-pronged approach to procuring a portfolio of vaccines is significant in order to obtain enough doses to meet our herd immunity target of 70% of the population.”

“This is just the first of many deals that we are considering. Negotiations are ongoing including with vaccine manufacturers from China. I would like to emphasise that the vaccines must be deemed safe and efficacious by the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) under the Ministry of Health before we execute the agreements and begin the vaccination process,” Khairy explained.

As for the shipment, the minister said it will be handled directly by Pfizer and the ministry is working towards the need for the ultra-cold storage.

“We have ultra-low temperature freezers in universities and research institutes in the country which can be redeployed, if necessary. Pfizer has also shown that the vaccines are stable at 2°C-8°C for five days,” he said.

However, Khairy noted that the country will not be receiving all 12.8 million doses at one go, it will be staggered throughout the year and the storage planning will work around the timing of deliveries.

He also denied the allegation that the vaccine may alter the DNA of a person.

“Briefly, in our cells, mRNAs (messenger RNAs) are temporary molecules that are made from our genomic DNA before it is translated to make a protein. It is essentially a short-term, temporary message that instructs the body to produce one of the proteins on the surface of the coronavirus. The immune system will then learn to recognise the virus protein and produce antibodies against it. That’s all the mRNA vaccine does. It does not alter your DNA,” he said.

Additionally, he said the Islamic Development Department of Malaysia is part of the Jawatankuasa Khas Jaminan Akses Bekalan Vaksin Covid-19 which assesses the vaccines.


Read our earlier report

 

Health Ministry to ensure Covid-19 vaccine fulfils WHO requirements