Ministry: Malaysia will join Covax initiative to ensure Covid -19 vaccine acquired quickly at affordable price

A woman holds a small bottle labeled with a 'Vaccine Covid-19' sticker and a medical syringe in this illustration taken April 10, 2020. — Reuters pic
A woman holds a small bottle labeled with a ‘Vaccine Covid-19’ sticker and a medical syringe in this illustration taken April 10, 2020. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 19 — The Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (Mosti) today clarified that Malaysia will be signing up for the global Covid-19 vaccine development platform Covax.

The ministry in a statement today said that the government is currently discussing the terms of joining the Global Alliance for Vaccine and Immunisation (Gavi), which is managing the Covax initiative.

Yesterday, the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) today urged the government to explain why Malaysia has yet to join the Covax Vaccination Plan co-led by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

MMA president Dr N. Ganabaskaran said the association believes even if Malaysia has its own bilateral negotiations for a vaccine, signing up for the Covax Vaccine Plan can be an added option that will guarantee access to vaccines for Covid-19.

In explaining the issue, Mosti said the government is also preparing the agreement to join the Coalition for Epidemic and Preparedness Innovations (Cepi) and government-to-government agreements with Beijing for access to vaccines set to be developed by pharmaceutical firms in China.

“The Ministry of Health has signed non-disclosure agreements with several international pharmaceutical firms who are in phase three of their vaccine testing.

“Malaysia’s approach in joining Covax, forming strategic partnerships with other countries and directly negotiating with pharmaceutical companies will ensure Malaysia obtains sufficient supply of the vaccine.

“This will ensure vaccine for Covid-19 is acquired quickly and at an affordable price once it has been proven to be safe and effective,” the Ministry said adding that it will coordinate the agreement on behalf of the government.

Ganabaskaran yesterday said Putrajaya should be more transparent about its plans to acquire Covid-19 vaccines for the country after it was reported that Malaysia was not on the list of 172 countries that have signed up for Covax.

He said the people deserve to know why Malaysia had not signed on for the Covax initiative, as the deadline for countries planning to participate ended yesterday.


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