MyEG purchases 10m doses of Zhifei vaccines

by AZALEA AZUAR / pic source:

WITH the Covid-19 vaccine supply set to be open to the private sector, MyEG Services Bhd has proposed to purchase 10 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines from Chinese pharmaceutical company Anhui Zhifei Biopharmaceutical Co Ltd meant for the private market in Malaysia.

In line with the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme Coordinating Minister Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar’s move to allow the private sector to carry out Covid-19 vaccine rollouts beginning August, MyEG has inked a deal with Zhifei to get vaccines delivered as early as August.

In an exchange filing last Friday, MyEG noted the company is still subject to the conditional authorisation of the vaccine by the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) while the costs will be determined later.

“MyEG is confident that when Zhifei vaccine becomes available locally, it can play an important role in accelerating the country’s drive toward achieving herd immunity against the virus,” the group stated in a filing to Bursa Malaysia.

The e-government services provider holds a three-year rights to distribute the vaccine locally.

Through a separate partnership, MyEG also has two-year exclusive distribution rights to the vaccine in the Philippines and is also in talks to distribute the vaccine to other countries.

Last week, MyEG announced plans for the rollout of a vaccination programme in the Philippines that will cover the provision of the vaccines to the public health segment and private sales.

The group has also leveraged its strengths and expertise as the region’s leading digital services provider in order to combat the pandemic by introducing a number of significant initiatives as part of a holistic solution.

Such efforts include screening services, quarantine management and digital health travel pass systems. Zhifei’s vaccine is a joint effort by the pharmaceutical company and the Institute of Microbiology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The collaboration has quickly gained a spot as China’s preferred vaccines since gaining emergency use authorisation since early March.

So far, more than 60 million doses have been administered, not only in China but in Uzbekistan as well.

The recombinant protein subunit vaccine has its advantages of being more easily produced at a large-scale since production does not need to be carried out in high-grade biosafety laboratories and being more cost-effective and easier to store and transport.

This technology has been proven and used for the development of vaccines such as Hepatitis B and shingles.

It takes three doses to be fully vaccinated, with a one-month gap in between shots, MyEG noted in its release.

Previously, the approved vaccines have been limited to adults between 18 to 59 years old in China, since officials do not have much clinical trial data for those who are older.

On March 16, local health centres in certain neighbourhoods in Beijing began the Zhifei vaccine rollout for those aged 60 and above.

MyEG becomes the latest company seeking a share of the Covid-19 vaccine market in Malaysia, where the bulk of the vaccines have been acquired by Putrajaya.