PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia is not a hoarder of vaccines, says Khairy Jamaluddin in defending claims that the country’s booster programme goes against the principles of vaccine equity.
The Health Minister said the country ensures all of its vaccine supply ends up as shot into the arms of its people, as opposed to some nations who have been found guilty of wasting them.
“There is no wastage of vaccines in Malaysia. But we hear of some developed countries that hoard vaccines but do not use them and until it is past their expiry date.
“All our vaccine stocks here are used and we don’t hoard any vaccines beyond what we need.
“If we have a supply of vaccines that we don’t require, we can defer our delivery so that the vaccine manufacturer contracted to us can send it to other countries who need it first.
“That’s why for our booster and third dose programme, we chose not to give it to everyone, but only to a targeted group.
“I think it would be unfair if we announced boosters for all right now when there are countries where its people have still not received their first dose.
“Our targeted booster programme is for people whose immune system may not have received enough response from two doses.
“So I feel our targeted booster programme is fair and the issue here is with countries who hoard vaccines till they past their expiry date. I think that is very, very wrong,” said Khairy at a press conference Friday (Sept 24).
Khairy said Malaysia’s support for vaccine equity is also shown through its participation in the Covax facility, as well as its donation of vaccines to Bosnia at the height of the country’s pandemic.
“We are part of global solidarity and although we are a middle income country, we participated in Covax for a long time. We are full paying members of Covax,” said Khairy.
Khairy has long been a critic of vaccine inequity - calling the act of vaccine hoarding among industrialised nations as extremely immoral at a World Bank forum in June.