CYBERJAYA: Malaysia is not merely depending on China for the Covid-19 vaccine, says Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin (pic).
He said Malaysia was also looking at other manufacturers for the vaccine, however, the safety and efficacy of the vaccine is pivotal.
Khairy said the country has also participated in the Coalition of Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), which has funded many vaccine research efforts by countries and companies in western countries.
"The most important thing for Malaysia is safety and efficacy. We want to make sure the vaccine that we buy is safe and effective and it has data shared with us.
"The National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) under the Health Ministry requires the data for clinical trials to be shared with us before we approve the buying of vaccines.
"The data will tell us whether the vaccines are safe and effective," he said in a press conference after the launch of the National Technology and Innovation Sandbox (NTIS) here Wednesday (Aug 19).
The Minister also said the government is looking at countries and manufacturers who can provide the vaccine the quickest.
"Once there is a safe and effective vaccine, we want it as soon as possible based on equitable access and we want to make sure other countries get it as well.
"We don't like seeing countries enter into advance purchase contracts with pharmaceutical companies monopolising the purchase of vaccines. That is happening today," he said.
Khairy said the government wants to make sure developing countries such as Malaysia have access to the vaccine as well.
He also expressed concern with big western pharmaceutical companies "locking in" the sales for the big purchase of vaccines.
"Which is why China is different. They are looking at the global public good but we will work together with anybody.
"First safety and efficacy, second is speed and third of course is cost," he said.
Khairy said the ministry also plans to negotiate directly with manufacturers to procure vaccines at the best cost possible.
He has also recommended for the vaccine to be provided free for all Malaysians.
"The Cabinet has not decided yet but this is my recommendation to the Cabinet, that the vaccine we purchase be given free of charge to all Malaysians but this is just my recommendation," he added.