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COVID-19: Malaysia secures 18.4 mil doses of Russian and Chinese vaccines

Malaysia has finalised its deal to procure a total of 18.4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines produced by Gamaleya Research Institute of Russia and Sinovac of China. This is the third vaccine deal to be signed by the Malaysian government.

A total of 6.4 million doses of Gamaleya’s Sputnik V vaccine will be supplied by Duopharma in stages from March 2021. Meanwhile, Pharmaniaga Berhad will supply 12 million doses of Sinovac vaccines from April 2021.

Combined, the doses procured under the deal are enough to cover 9.2 million people or 28.75% of Malaysia’s population. The vaccines are still subject to approval by Malaysia’s health regulators.

As revealed earlier by the Ministry of Health, Malaysia aims to procure enough vaccines to cover 82.8% of the population. It aims to secure a total of 14 million doses from Sinovac.

It is reported that Pharmaniaga has signed a deal with Sinovac to allow it to carry out a fill-and-finish process on the vaccines. Apparently, this approach would help lower prices, compared to buying finished products like Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines.

Malaysia aims to start its vaccination program in March after the arrival of the first batch of vaccines by the end of February 2021. Priority will be given to frontliners as well as targeted high-risk groups.

Health D-G Dr Noor Hisham recently said that the Ministry of Health aims to complete the COVID-19 vaccination program as early as end of 2021 or early 2022. At the moment, the Pfizer vaccine is only granted conditional approval by the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) and more data is needed before it is approved for use in Malaysia.

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Alexander Wong