IPOH: Pharmaniaga Bhd plans to import 10 million doses of finished Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine from China, says its group managing director Datuk Zulkarnain Md Eusope.
He said this was to prevent supply shortage in Malaysia due to the unpredictability of supplies globally.
“Taking into consideration geopolitics and supply issues around the world, the supply of vaccines is unpredictable and there could be a possibility of vaccine supply shortage in Malaysia if this happens.
“The World Health Organisation is expected to approve the Sinovac vaccine very soon and we foresee that once it happens, global demand for it will spike and we may not be able to obtain it as easily as we have so far.
“We plan to place the order now before that occurs, ” he said in a statement yesterday.
Zulkarnain said Pharmaniaga was also confident of supplying about 8.6 million doses of the Sinovac vaccine by the end of June.
He said some 3.6 million doses of the vaccine would be available in May and five million more in June.
The vaccine, he added, would come from its wholly-owned subsidiary Pharmaniaga LifeScience Sdn Bhd (PLS) plant and also finished vaccines from China.
“We are ready to ramp up production from two million to four million doses a month in order to help the government expedite the vaccination programme and achieve herd immunity.
“We are on track to meet our contractual obligation to the Federal Government ahead of the agreed delivery schedule by supplying both filled and finished as well as finished Sinovac vaccine, ” he added.
Zulkarnain said Pharmaniaga is waiting for approval by the China Food and Drug Administration for the Sinovac vaccine for children aged three to 17 years and manufacturing of two doses per vial before submitting it to NPRA for variation process.
He said production capacity is expected to increase by four million per month once the two-dose vial is approved.
“We expect it will take about two to three weeks of evaluation upon submission to NPRA, followed by running another stability test for two doses per vial.
“All these requirements are standard practice in the vaccine industry to ensure the vaccine is safe prior to distribution to the public, ” he said.
“Nevertheless, looking at the critical current situation in Malaysia, we have proposed to the government that we supply both finished vaccine as well as filled and finished vaccine to help expedite the completion of the national immunisation programme and at the same time review our contract obligation, shortening the supply period.
“Upon completion of our obligation to the government, we can start offering the Sinovac vaccine to the private sector, ” he added.
On allegations made against Pharmaniaga on its procurement process and manufacturing of the filled and finished vaccines that were circulated on social media, Zulkarnain said the company has lodged police reports.
“We have lodged police reports so that official investigations can be conducted to bring the unscrupulous parties who spread these hateful messages to justice.
“We are disappointed with the irresponsible actions by those who created slander not only towards Pharmaniaga, but also the government and the Covid-19 Vaccine Supply Access Guarantee Special Committee (JKJAV) who have worked tirelessly in the war against Covid-19 in this country, ” he said.
Zulkarnain said everyone needs to be united and stay objective in the fight against the pandemic.
“We will remain steadfast and committed to meeting the healthcare requirements and vaccine supply for the rakyat as the nation faces the fourth wave of the pandemic, ” he added.