SEPANG: Malaysia has received 500,000 doses of the Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine, which is the first delivery out of one million doses contributed by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), says Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Abdullah.
He said the UAE assistance would greatly complement Malaysia’s efforts in tackling the pandemic and it signified a significant Malaysia-UAE diplomatic relation.
“We would like to thank the UAE Embassy for facilitating and coordinating the shipment of the Covid-19 vaccine (Sinopharm).
“May our relations as two brotherly countries remain strong for future cooperation and for the benefit of the ummah (community) as a whole,” he told reporters after the vaccine handover ceremony at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) yesterday.
Also present were charge d’affaires ad interim of the UAE Embassy in Kuala Lumpur Nour Ibrahim Ali Rashed AlKuwaiti, Wisma Putra deputy secretary-general (management) Harjeet Singh as well as other senior officials from the Foreign and Health ministries, reported Bernama.
On the vaccine contribution, Nour said the remaining 500,000 Sinopharm doses would be sent to Malaysia within the coming two weeks.
She said since the start of the pandemic, the UAE had always looked at Malaysia as a close friend and contributed to supporting the country in combating the pandemic.
“With this donation, the UAE pray for this pandemic to come to an end soon and hope that this donation will further support and enhance Malaysia in its battle to combat this virus,” she added.
Meanwhile, when asked whether the Sinopharm vaccine would be given as a booster jab, Harjeet said the Health Ministry’s technical working group for Covid-19 vaccination would decide on that matter.
“This will be determined by the technical committee at the ministry level, but in the meantime, we have got this (the vaccine doses) so the technical committee will first validate it, so we have to wait,” he said.
The UAE has previously extended Covid-19 assistance to Malaysia such as contributing 20,000 units of PCR test kits in March 2020 and seven tonnes of hand sanitisers made specifically to Wisma Putra’s Diplomatic Equipment Stockpile in May 2020.