KUALA LUMPUR, May 25 — The direct supply of Covid-19 vaccines to states by interested sponsors does not have to go through the federal government, Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said today.
He clarified that vaccine supplies through Putrajaya is just one of the options available, and that state governments could source their own as long as they are approved by the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA).
“So for instance, there are state governments that want to receive a donation and they are donations that are genuine, that are legitimate, that when we checked with the vaccine producer they know about it, then there is no restriction for any state governments to receive any donations,” he said during the Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force’s (CITF) virtual press conference this afternoon.
“Donations through the federal government is only an option if that’s what you want to do, but you can donate straight to the state government, you can donate to the federal government, you can buy straight from the source, the factory, whichever factory it is.
“But you have to make sure that the source where you want to buy from is registered and approved by the NPRA,” stressed Khairy who is also the coordinating minister for the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme.
Khairy had previously claimed the Penang government had fallen for a scam after a man named Yong Chee Kong had offered to sponsor two million Sinovac vaccine doses to the Pakatan Harapan-led state.
He had defended his assertion saying Yong had not been able to prove his ability to procure the vaccines when confronted. The minister added that he was willing to facilitate the donation as long as Yong could show documentary evidence.
During the press conference today, Khairy was asked if the government would change its stand from acting as the middlemen for such donations, before it could be channeled to the intended states, picked by donors, given the rising number of Covid-19 cases.
Last week, Penang state exco Chong Eng had also called for the procurement of the Covid-19 vaccine to be decentralised to speed up the rate of vaccination in the country.
The DAP Women’s wing chairman said the Health Ministry should allow respective state governments and the private sector to procure the Covid-19 vaccines that have been registered with the NPRA.
She said it will also expedite the vaccination rate to achieve herd immunity as soon as possible.
She pointed out that healthcare facilities have been procuring vaccines and inoculating babies for many years.
She stressed that there should not be any delay in administering Covid-19 vaccines as relying fully on the public health sector to provide vaccinations was too inefficient.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said that the government will not object to any party or organisation in Malaysia seeking to purchase Covid-19 vaccines for themselves, provided they go through the necessary approval.
He said the approval must come from the NPRA which is in charge of analysing the safety and efficacy of any Covid-19 related vaccines in the country.
The prime minister guaranteed that the full supply of Covid-19 vaccine will arrive by the year’s end.
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