Sinovac vaccines will be procured if needed

Malaysia will receive its completed delivery order by this month

by S BIRRUNTHA / pic by TMR FILE

MALAYSIA will order more Sinovac vaccine doses if there are supply issues in the country, National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (NCIP) Coordinating Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said.

The minister said the country has taken the decision to stop administering the Sinovac vaccines because it has fully utilised the vaccine’s supply.

Khairy also dismissed all rumours from various parties that the country’s decision to stop using the Sinovac vaccines was allegedly due to the concerns over the vaccine’s efficacy.

He noted that Malaysia will receive its completed delivery order by the end of July.

“We have finished using the supplies of Sinovac vaccines. Our orders have all been delivered by Pharmaniaga Bhd.

“This has nothing to do with alleged speculations over the vaccine’s efficacy.

“I have seen much speculation on why we had to stop using Sinovac but it is only because we have received our entire delivery,” he said during the press conference on the NCIP development last Friday.

He also noted that Pharmaniaga is aware that in any contingency, the government may call them to produce more vaccines as they have the fill-and-finish facility here in Malaysia.

According to the minister, the government had procured 15 million doses of Sinovac vaccines in total.

This includes an extra three million doses that the government had recently ordered, which Khairy said will be delivered by the end of July or early August.

Previously, Khairy had stated that the delivery of Sinovac vaccines was to last until November, but the government had requested for it to be brought forward to accelerate the country’s vaccination programme.

Khairy also said from August onwards, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines will be the main ones to be used in vaccination centres (PPVs) for the NCIP.

On proposals to give booster shots to those who received the Sinovac vaccines, he said the ministry did not have enough data to make a decision although the ministry would continue to monitor and study global developments.

Meanwhile, Khairy said staff in PPVs have been directed not to turn away migrant workers who have vaccination appointments via MySejahtera.

He added that those who have appointments stated on their MySejahtera would be vaccinated accordingly as stated in the system.

On other matter, Khairy said volunteers in PPVs who have yet to be immunised will be given the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine as soon as possible, although most of them have already been vaccinated.

This is in response to the news that 204 staff at Ideal Convention Centre PPV were tested positive last week, forcing the centre to be shut for a day.

“Our policy now is to get them vaccinated using the spare doses that we have.

“The ministry has instructed for the new rotation of volunteers to be vaccinated as soon as possible,” he added.

Despite the exponential increase in the country’s vaccination rate, Khairy said he is still maintaining his projection of vaccinating 80% of the adult population by December.

“Things are looking good so far. I do believe that we can shorten the timeline.

“However, we are greatly dependent on the vaccine supply. So, we want to keep our estimates conservative,” he said.

Last Friday, Khairy announced that all senior citizens in Klang Valley who have yet to receive a Covid-19 vaccination appointment on MySejahtera, can go to any PPVs in Kuala Lumpur (KL) and Selangor to get their vaccine jabs starting from July 17.

He said a special lane for senior citizens aged 60 and above would be provided in the PPVs to ensure a smoother vaccination process.

Additionally, he also said the government had introduced the Operation Surge Capacity initiative to ensure that every adult in KL and Selangor will receive at least the first dose of their two-shot Covid-19 vaccination by Aug 1.

He added that the initiative was important due to the sharp increase in daily cases of Covid-19 in KL and Selangor lately.