Take steps to secure Covid-19 vaccines for children under 12, PAC tells govt

KUALA LUMPUR: The government must secure Covid-19 vaccines for children below 12 years old, says Parliament's Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

"The government must take proactive action to finalise the purchase of Covid-19 vaccines for children from five to 11 years old," said PAC chairman Wong Kah Woh said in a statement on Wednesday (Dec 1).

He added that this included paying a deposit if needed to ensure that the delivery of the vaccines is not delayed.

The recommendation came after the PAC found that delays in paying deposits for vaccines had resulted in delivery delays and increased cost by 16.78% to 18.12% for the Sinovac vaccine.

The PAC held five hearings on vaccine procurement between Jan 5 and Aug 2 this year.

Among those called to testify Included former health minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba and former science, technology and innovation minister Khairy Jamaluddin.

Also called up were Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz and Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

Meanwhile, Wong said the PAC also noted that RM3bil for the Covid-19 Fund announced by the Finance Ministry was not included under Budget 2021.

Overall, Wong said the PAC was satisfied with the government's management of vaccine procurement from several manufacturers.

He noted that improvements had followed the setting up of the Special Committee on Covid-19 Vaccine Supply Access Guarantee (JKJAV) in October last year.

The PAC also recommended coordination between the relevant ministries and agencies in implementing the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK).

On the MySejahtera app, Wong said the PAC held the view that the government should not make any additional payments for its use.

"This is because the development of the app was part of corporate social responsibility (CSR).

"The government should take over operations of the MySejahtera app without additional cost as it has become part of the nation's health system," he added.

The MySejahtera app was developed by a local company under a CSR project for the government.

The CSR agreement ended on March 1 with the government required to pay for the use of the app beginning April 1.

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