Private vaccine sales start in Aug

PUTRAJAYA: Pharmaceutical companies will be allowed to sell vaccines on the private market starting in August, says National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme coordinating minister Khairy Jamaluddin (pic).

“The Special Committee on Ensuring Access to Covid-19 Vaccine Supply (JKJAV) will meet next week to decide on the guidelines for the private sale of vaccines, including the ceiling price,” he said at his weekly joint media briefing with Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba yesterday.

Khairy added that the cap on prices is to ensure that the vaccines would not be sold at too high a price.

“A lot of people have been asking why we don’t open up the private market for people who are willing to pay.

“We had agreed that when the Federal Government has enough stock of vaccines, we will open up the market so that we can reach our (vaccination) target much faster.

“That is why in the month of August, pharmaceutical companies which have access to a supply of vaccines will be able to offer this in the private market,” he said.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob had said that a total of 14 million doses of the Sinovac vaccine would be sold by Pharmaniaga Bhd to interested states and private companies, adding that the move was approved by JKJAV to further expedite efforts to achieve herd immunity.

Khairy said Pharmaniaga was allowed to sell vaccines as it has fulfilled its commitment to the government.

He also cleared the air over the perception that the government had pulled Sinovac from the national vaccination programme.

“The impression that has been given is that Sinovac is no longer favoured in the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme. That is not the case.

“Pharmaniaga has delivered all of its commitment to the Federal Government. That was why an announcement was made that Sinovac would slowly be phased out from the national programme,” he said.

According to reports, Pharmaniaga has supplied 12 million doses of the Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine to the government, with the final batch delivered on July 21, four and a half months earlier than the contractual schedule.

On the reopening of schools, Khairy said his team and the Health Ministry are collaborating with the Education Ministry to ensure there are adequate vaccines for all school staff, and not just teachers.

“We are also looking at vaccinating support staff and those working at schools such as cleaners, canteen operators, security guards and bus drivers.

“We are working on that and working very hard to ensure the school environment is safe once schools are reopened. We will have an update on this next week,” he added.

On July 17, the Education Ministry had announced that schools will reopen in stages for face-to-face classes from Sept 1.

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