KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is to make upfront payment of about RM94mil soon for access to Covid-19 vaccine, says Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.
"The Cabinet decided on Nov 13 that Malaysia, through the Health Ministry, to conclude participation in the Covax facility by signing the Optional Purchase Arrangement.
"The ministry and the Covax alliance (Gavi) is seeking a date to sign the agreement," he said when answering a question raised by Lim Guan Eng (PH-Bagan) in Dewan Rakyat on Thursday (Nov 19).
He said that the nation will make upfront and sharing guarantee payments of US$22.6mil (RM94mil) upon signing of the agreement.
"Access to vaccine is crucial to protect the rakyat from the spread of the virus and to spur the economy when vaccination becomes a requirement for global travel and movement," Khairy added.
He stressed that although signing the Covax facility agreement, Malaysia is taking a multi-pronged approach in seeking access to Covid-19 vaccine when it becomes available.
"The multi-pronged approach will open up opportunities for the country to widen its choice and lessen the risk of giving focus to bilateral approach," he added.
Malaysia is expected to pay about RM3bil for the vaccine to cover 70% of the population under the Covax facility agreement.
Covax is a global initiative supported by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to ensure fair and equitable access to Covid-19 vaccine worldwide.