First batch of AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine expected in first half of 2021

PETALING JAYA: The first deliveries of the AstraZeneca-Oxford University Covid-19 vaccine to Malaysia are expected in the first half of 2021, says the pharmaceutical company.

AstraZeneca Malaysia country president Dr Sanjeev Panchal said the company will be providing 6.4 million doses of its potential vaccine, AZD1222, at no profit during the period of the pandemic.

"I am grateful for the government’s guidance and leadership, and look forward to deepening our cooperation to fight Covid-19.

"When the government, private sector and academia join hands, so much can be achieved to protect people's lives and build a healthier Malaysia," he said in a statement Wednesday (Dec 23).

AZD1222 is co-invented by Oxford University and its spinoff company Vaccitech.

AstraZeneca said under the agreement, it will expand its global manufacturing capacity to ensure a dedicated supply of the vaccine for Malaysia.

"This takes place in parallel with the ongoing clinical trials in the United Kingdom, United States, Brazil, South Africa, Japan and Russia.

"Results of an interim analysis of the Phase III programme conducted by Oxford University with AZD1222, peer-reviewed and published in The Lancet on Dec 8, demonstrated that the vaccine is safe and effective at preventing symptomatic Covid-19 and that it protects against severe disease and hospitalisation," said the company.

AstraZeneca said it was working together on the preparations for swift and science-led regulatory approval with the Health Ministry and the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry to ensure that the potential vaccine lives up to the highest safety standards and that its introduction complies with the healthcare regulations of Malaysia.

On Tuesday (Dec 22), Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced that the government had signed an agreement with AstraZeneca for the procurement of an additional 10% or 6.4 million doses of their Covid-19 vaccine.

He said that the government is also in final negotiations with Sinovac, CanSino and Gamaleya to secure a vaccine supply increase to cover more than 80% or 26.5 million of the country's total population.

The government had previously signed preliminary agreements with Covax and Pfizer for the procurement of the Covid-19 vaccine to secure a vaccine supply of 30% of the population.

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