M’sia and China sign deal on vaccine joint effort

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia and China have signed a deal to boost cooperation in Covid-19 vaccine development and accessibility.

The agreement, signed virtually by Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin and Chinese counterpart Wang Zhigang, aims to forge greater collaboration to combat the pandemic.

The agreement will be operationalised under the supervision of a high-level committee that will be chaired by Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi as agreed upon on Oct 13 this year.

“Great step forward for Malaysia-China relations in the post-pandemic era. Vaccine priority, along with other bilateral economic, social and cultural matters, is part of a wider overarching framework under the high-level committee co-chaired by Foreign Minister Wang Yi and me, ” Hishammuddin said in a tweet.

Khairy, who tweeted about the signing of the agreement, also said he discussed a mutually accepted blockchain-enabled digital health passport to facilitate a travel corridor for vaccinated citizens from both countries.

Khairy and Wang agreed to increase collaboration in addressing the Covid-19 pandemic through science diplomacy, said the Foreign Affairs Ministry as well as the Science Technology and Innovation Ministry in a joint statement.

“The agreement provides for Malaysia to be given priority access to Covid-19 vaccines developed by China, knowledge sharing and expertise as well as facilitate scientific and technological capabilities to advance vaccine development in both countries.

“Both countries will also support the participation of their public and private sectors including universities, institutions, societies and organisations in joint collaborative projects, ” they said in a joint statement yesterday.

Both governments agreed to support and encourage their enterprises to establish cooperation in vaccine research and development, as well as supply, added the statement.

The agreement was to remain in force for an initial five-year period and would be automatically extended for another one year each, at a time upon mutual agreement by both parties.

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