With coverage raised from current 82.8% to 110%, the higher allocation also takes into account risks including approvals from regulators
by SHAHEERA AZNAM SHAH / pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
THE additional inoculation coverage under the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (NIP) will see Malaysia spending RM3.5 billion alone on the vaccine procurement and logistics, an increase from the amount estimated last year.
Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar said with the increased coverage of immunised people from the current 82.8% to 110%, the higher allocation also takes into account the risk of export restrictions, raw materials, manufacturer capacity and approvals from regulators.
“With the announcement from several vaccine suppliers that clinical trials are being carried out on teenagers, the government has made a decision to increase the vaccine supply to cover the remaining portion of the population that were excluded in the early planning.
“The additional supplies will also act as buffer stock if additional booster doses are required.
“The acquisition price is estimated at RM3.16 billion, depending on the increase in supply, while taking into account the vaccination for teenagers and buffer stock up to the ceiling of RM3.5 billion, which was set by the Finance Ministry,” he said in his statement yesterday.
Previously, the government announced that the country will utilise RM5 billion from the National Trust Fund (KWAN) to expedite the vaccine procurement and the timeline of achieving herd immunity.
On the breakdown of the vaccine procurement, the government is allocating RM333 million for utility and rental, while RM200 million will be channelled to the volunteers of the Malaysia Vaccine Support Volunteer, the People’s Volunteer Corps and the Malaysian Civil Defence Force.
However, Khairy said the estimates have not been finalised as the deals for Sputnik V and CanSino vaccines are still being assessed by the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency.
“If these vaccines are not approved or taking too much time, the government has the option of not pursuing the agreement without any financial implications.”
He added that all the procurement documents have been presented to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and its members are satisfied with the explanation on the procurement budget under the Covid-19 Vaccine Supply Access Guarantee Special Committee.
“Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba and I have presented the vaccine procurement plan, as well as the purchase agreements to PAC on Jan 5.
“I plan to share the documents of the procurement agreement documents made since January with the PAC when permitted later.”
Khairy was responding to queries made by several quarters after comments made by Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz in justifying the government’s decision to utilise KWAN for the vaccines.
“The prime minister has stated that the overall allocation for NIP has been increased to RM5 billion, an increase of RM2 billion from the initial RM3 billion announced during the 2021 Budget.
“This increased provision for NIP notes that the original provision was planned for the vaccine procurement alone, while the additional provision is meant to cover the expense of managing the implementation.”