The Ministry of Health through the Drug Control Authority (DCA), has given the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine conditional approval for emergency use here in Malaysia. Also known as the COVILO or BBIBP-CorV, is an inactivated vaccine that uses killed viral particles to expose the immune system to the virus without risking a serious disease response which is similar to the Sinovac vaccine.
The two-dose vaccine has an interval of 21 days and has an efficacy rate of 79% against symptomatic infection and hospitalisation according to the World Health Organization (WHO). In May, the state-backed Chinese vaccine became the first vaccine developed by a non-western country to be approved by WHO for emergency use.
In the same announcement, the DCA has also announced the conditional approval of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine, which was already given conditional registration last month. That being said, the Janssen vaccine was recently linked to rare cases of an autoimmune disorder called Guillain-Barré syndrome but so far, only 100 of such cases have been reported among 12.5 million doses administered.
With the new announcement by DCA, the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK) now has access to six vaccines which has previously include Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca, Sinovac, and CanSino. However, JKJAV has yet to announce their actual plan with Johnson & Johnson, and Sinopharm for the time being although the coordinator minister for PICK, Khairy Jamaluddin is expected to provide some updates regarding the programme later today.