PUTRAJAYA: There are fake Covid-19 vaccines being sold online in the country, warns Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.
He said the public should only trust Covid-19 vaccines distributed by the Health Ministry – which is provided at no charge – not those that can be purchased from other sources.
He said under the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) arrangement, Covid-19 vaccines in Malaysia can only be provided by the government.
"The NPRA hands out conditional registration for Covid-19 vaccines to be distributed in the country, and one of the conditions is that they are provided by the government.
"Covid-19 vaccines provided by the government under the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme are free.
"Some may be administered at other places such as private hospitals, and these have been identified by the government," said Dr Noor Hisham at the ministry's Covid-19 press conference here on Thursday (March 4).
Dr Noor Hisham said the ministry was aware of online advertisements selling Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccines.
"The ministry's pharmaceutical enforcement division has investigated and found these ads to be fake.
"There is an emergence of fake Covid-19 vaccines found on the market, so our advice to the public is to ensure that the vaccines they take are only those provided by the Health Ministry or other reliable sources," he said, adding they are investigating these with Interpol.
The National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme, which kick-started on Feb 24, began with vaccine shots developed by US drugmaker Pfizer and German partner BioNTech.
Besides Pfizer-BioNTech, Malaysia has also procured Covid-19 vaccines from China's Sinovac and UK company AstraZeneca.
The first phase of the programme will see over 500,000 frontliners being vaccinated until April.
The second phase will involve the elderly and those with chronic conditions, while the third phase will involve adults aged 18 and above.
The country is hoping to vaccinate 70% of its population to achieve herd immunity by February 2022.