PUTRAJAYA: The government is expected to secure access to Covid-19 vaccines in the first quarter of next year with priority given to frontliners, says the government.
The Health Ministry along with the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry (Mosti), in a joint statement, said the government has so far contacted eight vaccine candidates which are currently in the third phase of their clinical trials.
"The vaccine supply is expected to be acquired in the first quarter of next year and priority will be given to those working as frontliners in the health and security sector such as doctors, nurses, police, prison and immigration staff," said the two ministries on Saturday (Oct 24).
This is following the first meeting of the Covid-19 Vaccine Supplies Access Guarantee Special Committee, which was co-chaired by Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba and Mosti Minister Khairy Jamaluddin on Friday (Oct 23).
The two ministries also said that they were also in the midst of finalising talks with the Covid-19 Vaccine Global Access (Covax) that has nine vaccine candidates under the Global Alliance for Vaccine and Immunisation (Gavi).
"The government has allocated a certain amount of funds for the purpose of purchasing vaccines via the Ministry of Finance's Covid-19 Fund.
"The government remains committed to make quick decisions in order to acquire a Covid-19 vaccine and to ensure the country will not be left behind in getting access to vaccine supply that has been approved and proven to be safe," said the ministries.
In an interview with The Star, Khairy had estimated that the downpayment for the Covid-19 vaccination alone would be around RM90mil since Malaysia is not expected to get any subsidisation or financial assistance from the World Health Organisation (WHO)'s global Covid-19 vaccine access plan as Malaysia is classified as a middle- to high-income nation.
The vaccination is under the Covax programme, co-led by WHO, the Global Alliance and Vaccine Immunization, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations.
It will involve higher-income countries financing the Covid-19 vaccines from their own national budgets, while low and middle-income countries will receive financial support to access the vaccines. Its aim is to have two billion vaccine doses available by the end of next year.
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