RM916m for health officials’ special allowance in pandemic

Some RM8.1m was also spent to procure the necessary equipment for hospitals to manage the bodies of Covid-19 deceased

Pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

THE Health Ministry has spent RM916 million on special allowances for health officials during the pandemic which involved 1.7 million claims made as at Sept 30, 2021.

Special allowances were also given to civil servants who were involved in the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme that was increased to RM600 a month, according to Deputy Health Minister II Datuk Aaron Ago Dagang.

He also said that a total of RM8.13 million has been spent from last year until Sept 10, 2021, to procure the necessary equipment for hospitals to manage the bodies of those who have died from Covid-19.

The deputy minister also told the Dewan Negara that of the total, RM6.5 million was used for the purpose of storing the bodies at the forensics department in all public hospitals nationwide.

“In terms of yearly breakdown, RM828,000 was used for the purpose last year while this year the ministry had spent RM7.2 million,” he said in a response to a question from senator Datuk Juhainis Abd Aziz yesterday. Meanwhile, Deputy Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Ahmad Amzad Hashim said the ministry is in the process of concluding the National Vaccine Development Plan which will be launched soon.

He said the main objective of the plan is to make Malaysia a vaccine-producing country and study the need of vaccines in the country including Covid-19 vaccines.

“The plan also involves the coordination between the government, scientists, medical practitioners and industry players via a strategic approach and ecosystem to provide a collaboration system for the parties involved,” he said in the upper house yesterday as a response to a query from senator Datuk Paul Igai on the government’s plans on producing its own Covid-19 vaccine.

The ministry has also pushed for the development of a national vaccine centre that will be known as Malaysian Genome Vaccine Institute which will house specialists that are focused on vaccine development including Covid-19 vaccine.

Ahmad Amzad added that his ministry had allocated RM15 million to several research institutions such as Universiti Malaya, Universiti Sains Malaysia and Universiti Putra Malaysia for the research and development (R&D) purposes specifically on Covid-19 vaccine.

The vaccine development plan in the country also involves cooperation with other parties at the regional level for a successful implementation, said the deputy minister although he noted further details on the matter cannot be disclosed as of yet.

A total of 94.2% of the adult population in the country have received their second dose of vaccine as of yesterday while 97.3% of the adult population have received their first dose.

As at Sept 13, 2021, the government has ordered a total of 87.9 million doses of vaccine which amounts to RM4.64 billion, including the cost of the vaccines and their logistics.

Pfizer and BioNTech vaccines accounted for the bulk of the total doses procured at 44.8 million. Other vaccines include Sinovac (20.4 million), AstraZeneca from Covax facility (6.4 million), AstraZeneca from University of Oxford (6.4 million), Gamaleya (6.4 million) and CanSino (3.5 million).