Covid-19: No M’sians to be used as ‘lab-mice’ in vaccine development, says KJ

KUALA LUMPUR: No Malaysians will be used as “lab-mice” with regard to the use of Covid-19 vaccine once it is made available, says Science, Technology, and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.

"We will not compromise on safety although we hope to get the vaccine by the first quarter of next year with priority given to frontliners.

"We will make sure that we obtain the interim safety data from the companies supplying the vaccine and also look at their clinical data.

"No Malaysian will be made into a lab-mice (with regard to the use of vaccines)," he said during his ministerial winding up speech on Budget 2021 in Dewan Rakyat on Wednesday (Nov 25).

He said that Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin is expected to make an announcement soon on the availability of Covid-19 vaccine for the country.

He also clarified why an estimated allocation of RM3bil is needed for the vaccine.

"This amount is to cover 70% vaccination target, which is in line with developing herd immunity for the nation.

"However, the RM3bil amount is still subject to changes as negotiations are still ongoing on the final price for the vaccine," he said.

Based on the science behind herd immunity, Khairy explained that the remaining 30% of the population would not require vaccination as the spread of the virus would not affect them once 70% of the population is vaccinated.

He also noted that current Covid-19 vaccines have yet to be tested on children below 12 years old.

As such, he said children below 12 years old will not be among those vaccinated when the vaccines are expected to be made available by the first quarter of next year.

Khairy added that the Special Committee on Covid-19 Vaccine Supply Access (JKJAV) will also prepare a vaccine portfolio to seek vaccines from several pharmaceutical companies.

He said that Malaysia is currently in talks with the US, Europe, Russia and China to source Covid-19 vaccines once available.

On the availability of vaccines produced by Muslim nations, he said that Iran, Kazakhstan and Indonesia were currently at the initial stage of developing a vaccine.

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