The decision to stop administering the Sinovac vaccine under the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK) is because its delivery has been completed and has nothing to do with the vaccine’s efficacy, PICK coordinating minister Khairy Jamaluddin says.
He said Pharmaniaga Bhd had finished supplying 12 million doses of China’s Sinovac vaccine to the government for PICK ahead of the original schedule.
“We are receiving the entire delivery (of the Sinovac vaccine) by the end of this month,” he said, dismissing speculation that the decision to stop giving the Sinovac vaccine was related to its efficacy.
Pharmaniaga, in a media statement, said the supply of the Sinovac vaccine for PICK had been completed, with the final batch to be supplied on July 21.
Pharmaniaga’s contract to the government was to supply 12 million doses of Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine on a “fill and finish” basis over a period of seven months between May and November 2021.
Khairy, at a joint news conference on the development of PICK with Health Minister Dr Adham Baba today, said the government had decided to use the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for the immunisation programme starting next month, while the Sinovac stockpile would be reserved for those who are allergic to other vaccines.
“For this purpose, the government has ordered three million doses of the Sinovac vaccine to be kept as a stockpile which we will receive by the end of July or early August,” he said.
To date, the government has received 6.66 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine including one million doses recently contributed by the US government.
On foreign media reports regarding the export restrictions on AstraZeneca vaccines manufactured in Thailand, Khairy said he would hold bilateral talks with the neighbouring country to ensure there is no disruption to the supply of the vaccine to Malaysia.
However, he said Malaysia has prepared an alternative plan should the Thai government restrict the export of the AstraZeneca vaccine produced by that country.
“We have a Plan B which is to increase vaccine purchase from Sinovac as we already have the fill and finish facility in Malaysia (Pharmaniaga).
“So, Pharmaniaga knows if there is any contingency, we may call on them to produce for the federal government,” he said.