Minister Khairy Jamaluddin says Malaysia may look into procuring the single-dose CanSino Covid-19 vaccine from China.
Khairy, who is in charge of the country’s vaccine procurement, said the CanSino option appeared to be better than that of Johnson & Johnson as the US pharmaceutical company would only be able to ship its supply in the fourth quarter of the year.
“Therefore, we will speed up negotiations with CanSino so that we can get a single-dose vaccine in our portfolio,” he said at a joint press conference with Health Minister Dr Adham Baba on the development of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme in Putrajaya today.
According to media reports, China has launched a single-dose Covid-19 vaccine known as Ad5-Ncov, which is an adenoviral vector vaccine developed in collaboration between Chinese biotechnology company CanSino Biologics and a group of researchers.
Malaysia has so far gained access to Covid-19 vaccine supplies through the Covax facility, and initial purchases from five Covid-19 vaccine manufacturers: two-dose vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca, Sinovac and CanSinoBIO, and single-dose vaccine Sputnik V from Russia.
Khairy said Malaysia might decide not to proceed with its order from Johnson & Johnson, adding that the matter will be finalised at a meeting on Thursday.
“Looks like we might have to drop it. They can only give two million doses at the end of the year and for us, it is too late,” he said.
Khairy said the government was also in talks to bring in another vaccine made by Novavax from the US, where clinical trials conducted in the UK found that the two-dose vaccine had an efficacy rate of 89.3%.
He said Malaysia has so far received 520,650 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine with an additional supply expected on March 11.
As for the Sinovac vaccine, he said 100,000 doses of the finished product from Beijing will be received on March 15, followed by another 100,000 doses on March 19.
Khairy said he would be the first individual to receive the Sinovac vaccine once it arrives in Malaysia.
The Drug Control Authority on March 2 approved the conditional registration of three Covid-19 vaccines for use during a disaster, namely Covid-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca Solution for Injection; CoronaVac Suspension for Injection – Sinovac; and Comirnaty Concentrate for Dispersion for Injection.
Adham, when asked whether he had received reports of anyone suffering from severe side-effects after receiving the Covid-19 vaccine injection, said no serious cases have been reported so far.
He said there were minor effects such as pain in the arm, adding however that it was nothing to be worried about.
To date, 139,720 people have been given the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.