PETALING JAYA: China’s Sinovac vaccine is safe to be administered to senior citizens under the second phase of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme.
Coordinating Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the special committee evaluating the vaccines took into account the latest data and found the vaccine to be “safe, effective and stable” for senior citizens.
He said countries which have so far administered the Sinovac vaccine to those aged 60 and above were Turkey (11 million), Brazil (seven million) and Chile (three million).
“The committee has reviewed the data and we have decided to use Sinovac for senior citizens based on Brazil trials and trial papers under review.
“The secondary efficacy of Covid-19 for the Sinovac vaccine was 83.7% for moderate and 100% for severe cases. So, this vaccine is effective in preventing severe cases of Covid-19 and is precisely what we want to avoid for those in phase two and senior citizens.
“This is because 80% of mortality for Covid-19 involve those aged 60 and above. If we can give 100% protection against severe cases, which the Sinovac vaccine does provide, then it is something we need to use, ” he said yesterday.
The Sinovac vaccine came under scrutiny lately with its efficacy rate reported to be varied across different countries.
Khairy also clarified that both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Sinovac vaccines would be used in phase two of the Immunisation Programme which starts next Monday.
The Science, Technology and Innovation Minister also said 31,776 vaccination appointments were sent through the mySejahtera application and SMS under phase two.
Of these, he said 18,215 did not confirm their appointments while 343 declined, adding that the government was scheduled to send out 50,000 more appointments yesterday.
“I urge those who have received the appointment details to respond on whether they will be present as this will allow us to make plans at the Vaccine Dispensing Centres (PPV).
“If we do not know how many will turn up, we worry that this will result in wastage or that not enough or too many vaccines would be brought there, ” he said.
Khairy said those who declined the first appointment date would receive a second appointment later.
“If they still decline, then we will investigate to find out why they do not want the vaccination. We currently believe it is because the dates are not suitable to them, ” he said.
Besides senior citizens, phase two will also involve persons with disabilities and those with comorbidities.
The minister also assured there would be enough vaccines as the country would receive supplies on a weekly basis amounting to 712,530 doses from this month.
He said an additional 200,000 finished product Sinovac vaccine doses would also come directly from Sinovac’s factory in China.
“The increase in supply should be sufficient for us to finish phase one and start phase two of the immunisation programme, ” he said.