Putrajaya has defended its move to purchase millions of doses of Covid-19 vaccine from US drugs firm Pfizer, saying the decision was based on its 95% success rate against the deadly virus.
Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the effectiveness of Pfizer’s vaccine was also published in a report by The New England Journal of Medicine on Dec 10.
He added that the government has access to data to evaluate the quality and safety of the vaccine.
“The vaccine has also received ‘Emergency Use Authorisation’ from seven countrie: the UK, US, Bahrain, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Singapore,” Khairy told the Dewan Rakyat today.
He said a final decision on the use of the vaccine would be up to the health ministry’s National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency.
He said the agency was already studying the data from Pfizer, and that the vaccine would be available in the first quarter of next year.
The Pfizer vaccine is expected to cover 6.4 million Malaysians, or 20% of the population.
Another vaccine, under the Covax global collaboration to fight Covid-19 aims to inoculate 3.2 million Malaysians, or 10% of the population.
Combined, the two vaccines, to arrive on Malaysian shores early next year, will cover 9.6 million Malaysians.
Khairy said a special committee chaired by him had been formed to ensure the safe and effective distribution of the vaccine.
He said the committee is currently considering candidates to undergo the third phase of clinical tests, adding that the government wants to achieve 70% herd immunity in the population.