KJ: Malaysia’s vaccine agreements will be honoured despite EU restriction

by RAHIMI YUNUS/ pic by BLOOMBERG
 
The European Union (EU) and Belgian ambassadors have assured that Malaysia’s vaccine supply agreements will be fulfilled as planned despite the vaccine export controls imposed by the bloc, according to Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Khairy Jamaluddin.
 
On the Pfizer Inc vaccine that is manufactured in Puurs, Belgium, he said Belgian Ambassador to Malaysia Pascal H Grégoire has given his assurances that Malaysia’s advanced purchase agreement (APA) will be fulfilled upon Pfizer applying for export authorisation and the vaccines will be delivered on schedule beginning this month.
 
He said the Malaysian government has therefore asked that Pfizer request approval for immediate export approval from the Belgian government.
 
“With the assurances of both the EU and Belgian ambassadors, the Covid-19 immunisation plan is expected to proceed according to plan. Both the EU and Belgian Embassies to Malaysia will be releasing statements regarding these supply assurances,” Khairy said in a statement today.
 
He held discussions with the EU Ambassador to Malaysia Michalis Rokas and Pascal H Gregoire today to further clarify the status of these vaccine deliveries to Malaysia.
 
The minister, who is the co-chair of the Special Committee on Ensuring Access To Covid-19 Vaccine Supply, also known as JKJAV, said the first shipment of one million doses of the Pfizer vaccine, which covers 500,000 people, will be used in the first phase of inoculation for frontliners.
 
He said the vaccines will be delivered in stages over the first quarter of this year.
 
Meanwhile, in a statement, Rokas said the vaccine export controls is not an export ban, but a mechanism to have transparency over where vaccines made by companies with whom the EU has signed a contract are going.
 
He said all vaccines purchased in the context of the COVAX scheme are exempt, including those purchased by self-financing participants such as Malaysia.
 
He further said only vaccines purchased outside the COVAX scheme from producers in the EU for delivery before the end of March 2021 require an export authorisation.
 
“The EU is mindful of advanced purchase authorisations contracted by Malaysia, and will endeavour to ensure that Malaysia’s expectations to obtain its deliveries will be met. 
 
“We have made a call on all companies with APAs manufacturing in the EU to honour their obligations to deliver on their commitments,” Rokas said.