by SHAHEERA ZANAM / pic by BERNAMA
VACCINES produced by pharmaceutical firm Pfizer Inc have a 95% success rate in preventing the Covid-19 infection, said Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar.
He said Malaysia’s decision to procure the US-based drugmaker’s vaccines was based on an interim report of clinical trials published in The New England Journal of Medicine, of which the government had assessed the vaccine’s quality, safety and level of effectiveness.
“The vaccine has also received the Emergency Use Authorisation from seven countries, including the UK, the US, Bahrain, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Singapore.
“However, the decision to use Pfizer’s vaccine in Malaysia is still subject to registration and approval from the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA).
“This process has begun and all data supplied by Pfizer will be reviewed by NPRA,” Khairy told the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.
He was responding to a query by Lim Guan Eng (DAP-Bagan) on the costs, efficacy and population coverage of the Pfizer vaccine, particularly the immunity period, and when will the plan to vaccinate the people be implemented.
Lim also questioned the rationale behind the government’s decision to buy Pfizer vaccines against vaccines produced by the other companies in the US, China and Russia.
Khairy said the government will make an announcement of the list of groups who will be prioritised in the vaccination process.
He mentioned previously that the frontliners is among the group who will be vaccinated first, while the government will skip on children under 12 years old as the vaccine has not been tested on the age group.
The government, through the Health Ministry, has signed a preliminary purchasing agreement with Pfizer to obtain 12.8 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine to supply immunisation for 6.4 million Malaysians or 20% of the country’s population.
Malaysia is expected to receive the Pfizer vaccines in the first quarter of 2021.
The country is also procuring the vaccine through the Covid-19 Vaccine Global Access Facility, or COVAX, with the optional purchase arrangement, which will supply doses for 10% of Malaysia’s population.
The number of vaccines that the government procures will cover 70% of Malaysia’s population, a target which is required to produce herd immunity guided by the National Immunisation Plan.
He also said the government is requesting for the several vaccine portfolios from pharmaceutical companies in the US, China, Russia and several European countries to widen Malaysia’s options in its procurement.
The government is also negotiating with other pharmaceutical firms to provide the remaining 40% of Covid-19 vaccine supply needed to produce herd immunity.