Govt has spent almost RM4.5bil procuring Covid-19 vaccines

KUALA LUMPUR: Putrajaya spent RM4.482bil on vaccine procurement and logistics as of April 30, 2023, according to the White Paper on Covid-19 Vaccine Procurement Management.

It said 96.37% of the allocation allotted for vaccine procurement and logistics for Covid-19 had been spent.

A total of RM4.651bil was allocated, comprising RM3.996bil from the National Trust Fund and the remaining coming from the Covid-19 Fund. This leaves the government with a balance of RM168.93mil.

The procurements made during the emergency period were made in line with the Emergency Expenditure Guideline (AP55) and Emergency Procurement (AP173.2).

On Nov 23, 2020, the Finance Ministry approved the standard operating procedure for Covid-19 vaccine procurement which includes direct negotiations, open tender and quotations without limit.

"The direct negotiation method for the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines will speed up the procurement process to be in line with the current needs to ensure that the vaccines received are safe, effective and are of high quality.

"As for Covid-19 logistics procurement, the procurement was done via direct negotiations and quotation with no cap," it said.

Malaysia chose the optional purchase agreement when it joined the Covid-19 vaccine global access (Covax) platform, which allowed participating countries to get vaccine supplies to accommodate 10% of the population.

The optional purchase agreement allows the country the flexibility to choose suitable vaccines.

In addition to the procurement via Covax, the government made direct negotiations with vaccine producers. This includes increasing the Pfizer order from 12.8 million to 32 million doses and subsequently to 44.8 million doses.

The Sinovac vaccine order was increased from 12.4 million to 20.4 million doses.

The paper said Covax's failure to adhere to the vaccine delivery schedule, prompted the government to make direct negotiations with vaccine producers.

Covax also could not confirm the vaccine delivery schedule to Malaysia as it had to depend on production by vaccine manufacturers.

As a result, Malaysia only received 268,800 doses on April 23, 2021 and 559,200 on May 21, 2021. Another 559,200 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine, which was supposed to be received in June 2021, were only received on September that year.

"The delivery schedule for 453,600 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine were only confirmed at the end of 2021," it said.

Other factors disrupting the delivery schedule include Pfizer having to stop operations to upgrade its manufacturing facilities to increase capacity following the surge in demand for Covid-19 vaccine worldwide.

Meanwhile, the Russian Gamaleya Research Institute Epidemiology and Microbiology failed to furnish the full details on the Sputnik V vaccine to the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA), despite being given two extensions.

"The agreement lapsed on Nov 23, 2021. Apart from that, the vaccine also did not get Emergency Use Listing (EUL) from the World Health Organisation (WHO) until now," it said.

There was also a delay in the registration of the CanSino vaccine due to a delay in the submission of the dossier from the producer, Solutions Biologic Sdn Bhd, to the NPRA. There was also a delay in the construction of the fill-and-finish premises of the plant.

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