Khairy Jamaluddin, the man overseeing Malaysia’s COVID-19 Immunisation Task Force, recently said that the Chinese Sinovac vaccine will no longer be used in the nation’s COVID-19 vaccination rollout. The Science, Technology, and Innovation Minister confirmed the news in a recent interview with The Vibes.
Khairy’s decision reportedly comes just after Adham Baba, the Health Minister, told the press that the remaining Sinovac doses would be reserved for those that still needed to complete their second dose. More importantly, Baba said that the decision to remove the Chinese vaccine from its national list was due to the country already having imported 44 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. In contrast, the national stockpile of Sinovac vaccine stands at 16 million doses.
In light of this, Baba says that more of the Pfizer vaccine will soon see distribution across all states. On a related note, the state of Kelantan also recently announced that it was ditching the Sinovac vaccine in favour of Pfizer, starting 18 July. That said, private entities that are currently distributing Sinovac may continue to do so, at least until the national stock is used up.
Interestingly, neither minister have provided an explanation for the decision to drop Sinovac, though it is very likely due to the allegedly lower effectiveness rating of the China-made vaccine against the deadlier Delta variant of COVID-19.
Up north in neighbouring Thailand, the local government has already begun testing out heterologous vaccination, where citizens and frontline workers have been given Sinovac as their first shot. Will receive either AstraZeneca (AZ) or Pfizer as their second shot, while frontline workers who have already received two Sinovac doses will get either AZ or Pfizer as a booster. By mixing up vaccines, scientists are convinced that the act could provide better protection against COVID-19 and all of its known variants.
In any case, Khairy is expected to address the matter later today, so we’ll just need to wait to get a clearer picture.