In a special address earlier today, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has provided an update regarding the status of COVID-19 vaccine for Malaysia. Among important points that PM Muhyiddin has covered in the announcement is the amount of vaccine that has been procured by the government so far.
From the previous agreements with COVEX Facility and Pfizer, the government was able to secure enough vaccine for 30% of the population. During his address today, PM Muhyiddin stated that this number has since increased to 40% through a new supply agreement with AstraZeneca.
Perkembangan semasa berkaitan pembekalan vaksin #COVID19 untuk Malaysia.
Semua perjanjian ini akan memberikan Malaysia akses vaksin bagi keperluan 83% rakyat Malaysia atau 26.5 juta.
Sumber : Jawatankuasa Khas Jaminan Akses Bekalan Vaksin COVID-19 (JKJAV) pic.twitter.com/TtKE2Gk6Y2
— KKMalaysia🇲🇾 (@KKMPutrajaya) December 22, 2020
At the same time, he has also revealed that the government is now in the final phase of discussions with Sinovac Biotech, CanSino Biologics, and Gamaleya National Center to obtain additional supplies that are enough to increase the population coverage to 82.8%. Interestingly, the agreements with these Chinese and Russian companies will not only involve vaccine purchase but also domestic bottling as well as the possibility of research & development partnerships.
All these vaccine procurement deals come at the cost of USD 504.4 million (RM 2.05 billion) to the country. Despite having exceeded the original target of 70% population coverage, PM Muhyiddin stated that the government will continue to negotiate with other pharmaceutical companies to gain additional supplies of COVID-19 vaccine.
Meanwhile, the minister has also stated that the first batch of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is expected to arrive in Malaysia as early as February 2021 which is well within the first quarter dateline that he has announced previously.
(Main image: Olia Danilevich @ Pexels.)