KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 22 — The Malaysian government has entered an agreement to purchase 6.4 million doses of a Covid-19 vaccine from pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced today.
He also said the government was in advanced talks to procure additional doses of comparable vaccines from Sinovac, CanSino and Gamaleya.
Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, who was at today’s signing ceremony, said Malaysia was now on track to secure enough vaccines to surpass the rate needed for herd immunity against Covid-19.
“After signing deals with Covax, Pfizer & AstraZeneca and finalising agreements with Sinovac, CanSino & Gamaleya, we will have vaccines for almost 83 per cent of our population at RM 2.05 billion,” Khairy said on Twitter.
“With this announcement, I hope it clears up the misinformation spread by [Lim Kit Siang] that we spent RM3 billion on just the Pfizer deal alone that covers 20 per cent of our population.”
After the signing, Muhyiddin said the doses from AstraZeneca represent vaccination coverage for another 10 per cent of the Malaysian population, which meant the government has now secured enough of the vaccines for 40 per cent of the country.
Malaysia previously entered agreements to purchase vaccines for 30 per cent of the country from Pfizer-Biontech and Covax.
“The government is also in final negotiations with Sinovac, CanSino and Gamaleya to secure a vaccine supply increase of more than 80 per cent or 26.5 million of the country's total population,” Muhyiddin was quoted as saying by state news agency Bernama.
The government previously set the target to vaccinate at least 70 per cent of Malaysia in order to achieve herd immunity against Covid-19.
Muhyiddin said the agreements with Sinovac, CanSino and Gamaley also included knowledge transfer that would help develop Malaysia’s science and technology sectors.
The prime minister then reiterated that Malaysia’s health authorities would thoroughly evaluate all Covid-19 vaccines to be used here for safety and effectiveness before they were deployed.
Earlier, the PM also said he would be among the first in the country to receive a Covid-19 vaccine, in order to help convince Malaysians that these were safe.