PUTRAJAYA (March 8): National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme Coordinating Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said Malaysia may look to procure the single-dose CanSino Covid-19 vaccine from China.
He said the CanSino option looks better than the one from Johnson & Johnson (J&J) as the US pharmaceutical company is only able to ship its supply in the fourth quarter of this year (4Q21).
“Therefore, we will speed up negotiations with CanSino, so that we can get a single-dose vaccine in our portfolio,” he said during a joint press conference with Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba on the development of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme here today.
According to media reports, China has launched a single-dose Covid-19 vaccine known as “Ad5-Ncov”, which is an adenoviral vector vaccine developed in collaboration between Chinese biotechnology company CanSino Biologics and a group of researchers.
Malaysia has so far gained access to Covid-19 vaccine supplies through the COVAX facility, and initial purchases from five Covid-19 vaccine manufacturers, which include two-dose vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca, Sinovac Life Sciences Co Ltd (Sinovac) and CanSinoBIO, and single-dose vaccine Sputnik V from Russia.
Khairy said Malaysia might also decide not to proceed with its order from J&J, and the matter will be finalised in a meeting on Thursday.
“Looks like we might have to drop it. They can only give two million doses at the end of the year and for us, it is too late,” he said.
Khairy said the government is also in talks to bring in another vaccine made by Novavax from the US, where clinical trials conducted in the UK found that the two-dose vaccine had an efficacy rate of 89.3%.
Meanwhile, Khairy said Malaysia had so far received 520,650 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and an additional supply of the vaccine is expected on March 11.
As for the Sinovac vaccine, he said 100,000 doses of the finished product from Beijing will be received on March 15, followed by another 100,000 doses on March 19.
Khairy said he will be the first individual to receive the Sinovac vaccine once it arrives in Malaysia.
The Drug Control Authority (DCA) on March 2 approved the conditional registration of three Covid-19 vaccines for use during a disaster, namely: Covid-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca Solution for Injection; CoronaVac Suspension for Injection — Sinovac; and COMIRNATY Concentrate for Dispersion for Injection.
Meanwhile, Adham, when asked whether he had received reports of anyone suffering from severe side effects after receiving the Covid-19 vaccine injection, said no serious cases had been reported so far.
He said there were minor effects, such as experiencing pain in the arm, but it was nothing to be worried about.
To date, 139,720 people have been given the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.