Jabs allocation to be increased to ensure supply is enough

KUALA LUMPUR: The National Trust Fund (KWAN) allocation will be increased to RM6bil from RM5bil previously to ensure a sufficient supply of vaccines, including booster doses, for not only the adult population but also teenagers, says Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz (pic).

Based on the current assessment, it is critical for everyone to be given a booster dose, especially with the emergence of the Omicron variant.

“To safeguard the people’s well-being, the government will act proactively and continue to monitor the situation from time to time,” he said as reported by Bernama during his winding-up speech for the Supply Bill 2022 (Budget 2022) in the Dewan Negara yesterday.

Responding to Senator Lim Hui Ying’s “conjecture” on a lack of transparency in the Covid-19 vaccine purchase and use of KWAN, Tengku Zafrul clarified he had announced during the Budget 2021 tabling that it would cost more than RM3bil to procure the Covid-19 vaccines required for Malaysians.

“However, given that the supply volume and prices had not been finalised by the vaccine suppliers at the time, no specific allocation was made under the RM322.5bil Budget 2021,” he explained.

Only by March 2021, which was after the government conducted negotiations for the vaccine supply for up to 120% of the Malaysian population, did the government decide RM5bil was needed for vaccine supply procurement and other expenses related to the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK), said the minister.

To expedite the implementation of PICK so that it could be completed by December 2021, the government decided to finance the PICK expenditure of RM5bil by tapping KWAN, he said.

“By having the resources dedicated for PICK implementation, Malaysia was recognised as having among the fastest vaccination rates in the world.

“These achievements allowed for nearly all the states in the country to transition to the fourth phase of the National Recovery Plan,” he added.

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