Minister of Science, Technology, and Innovation Khairy Jamaluddin has revealed yesterday that the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has received conditional registration approval by the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA). According to his tweet, the vaccine can be used in Malaysia.
A couple of hours later, Health D-G, Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, has mentioned that the pharmaceutical company is still required to furnish additional vital data within the stipulated time before it is approved for use in Malaysia. Pfizer had submitted its application for the registration on the 15th December 2020.
The Health Ministry has mentioned previously that it will take roughly 3 to 4 months to register a COVID-19 vaccine with the NPRA. All pharmaceutical products must be registered with the Drug Control Authority (DCA) following a quality, safety and efficacy evaluation process by the NRPA.
The first batch of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines are expected to arrive next month and it will be prioritised for frontliners as well as high-risk individuals especially those who have non-communicable diseases (NCD) and chronic respiratory diseases.
The vaccines will be administered for free to all Malaysians. To convince Malaysians that the vaccines are safe, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has volunteered to be among the first to receive the jab.
As announced by Health Minister Dr Adham Baba, 1 million vaccines will arrive in February 2021 under Phase 2 and an additional 6.2 million vaccines will arrive in April and May 2021. Most COVID-19 vaccines including Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Sinovac require two doses. Malaysia aims to secure enough vaccines from various pharmaceutical firms to cover 82.8% of the population. However, the vaccine will only be administered to those who are aged 18 years and above as there are no clinical trials yet on children.
The Pfizer vaccine requires to be refrigerated between -80°C and -60°C and the government will spend RM6.7 million to purchase 55 special freezers that will be placed in urban areas.
The COVID-19 vaccination will be offered voluntarily and it won’t be made mandatory. Khairy has mentioned that Malaysians will need to provide their consent to be vaccinated. Those who wish to get the COVID-19 vaccine may sign up through the MySejahtera app soon.