Thorough vetting to ensure Covid-19 vaccine adheres to National Immunisation Programme policies, says Health Minister

FILE PHOTO: A woman holds a small bottle labeled with a "Coronavirus COVID-19 Vaccine" sticker and a medical syringe in this illustration taken, October 30, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

KUALA LUMPUR: The Health Ministry will check all Covid-19 vaccine candidates carefully to ensure that the vaccines used in the country adhere to the National Immunisation Programme policies, the Parliament heard.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba said based on the figures from the World Health Organisation (WHO), a total of 155 types of vaccines are still at the pre-clinical testing stage while 47 more are still under clinical trials as of Nov 3.

From the 47 types of vaccines at the clinical trial level, 10 vaccines are still at the third phase of clinical trials but none have yet completed the phase in order for it to be registered for public use.

"At the moment, the Health Ministry is looking at all the candidates carefully so that the vaccine used in the country adheres to the National Immunisation Programme based on efficacy, safety and quality of the vaccine and can be fully utilised by the rakyat," he told Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad (PH-Kuala Selangor) during Question Time on Thursday (Nov 12).

Dr Dzulkefly had asked the ministry to state its strategic measures to prepare a vaccination plan tor Malaysians once the Covid-19 vaccine is obtained.

Dr Adham said the assessment on the vaccine and engagement with vaccine manufacturers have been done since June this year.

"At the moment, there is no vaccine that has completed the clinical trial that can be considered for registration in Malaysia.

"However, the Health Ministry has a Covid-19 vaccination plan especially for the rakyat and is ready to implement it once a high quality, effective and safe vaccine is ready for use," he said.

Dr Adham said he expects the high demand for a global Covid-19 vaccine would impact the supply in the country.

He said the implementation of the Covid-19 immunisation programme, which will be implemented in stages, would prioritise high-risk groups such as frontliners who are directly involved in the fight against the pandemic, the elderly, disabled group, among others.

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