PETALING JAYA: The Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia has welcomed the government's move allowing them to negotiate with suppliers for the purchase of Covid-19 vaccines but noted that procurement planning has to start from now.
Its president Datuk Dr Kuljit Singh said they were happy to work with the government to help in the procurement process from suppliers other than those that have already provided vaccines to Malaysia.
However, he said it was important to procure the vaccines early so that they will be available for dispensing by the middle of the year and not towards the third or fourth quarter.
"Any delay will have an impact on economic recovery.
"Procurement planning has to be initiated now by private healthcare facilities in order to have supplies ready by the middle of the year or at least before the last quarter.
"We believe that more vaccines will be available by the middle of the year as worldwide approval of newer vaccines is in the pipeline," he said in a statement on Tuesday (March 30).
Dr Kuljit also urged the government to hasten the process of approving the vaccines so that manufacturers could submit applications to the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency for registration.
"It will not be impossible to have private vaccination at the earliest in June or July, provided the process commences immediately," he said.
Dr Kuljit assured the public that the procurement would not reduce the availability of the vaccine in the government's National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme.
"Our intention as private hospitals is to assist the economic frontliners from multinational companies, government-linked companies, private companies with huge workforces, foreigners and private individuals to obtain the vaccination earlier than the planned phases by the government," he said.
On Monday (March 29), immunisation programme Coordinating Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said private hospitals would be given permission to negotiate with suppliers to buy Covid-19 vaccines.
Khairy said vaccine delivery to private markets would most likely be made in the third and fourth quarter of this year at the earliest, noting that the entire world was still facing a lack of vaccine supply.