Opposition willing to help govt source RM1.5b to get Covid-19 vaccines for remaining 18.8 million Malaysians, Guan Eng tells Khairy

·3-min read
A healthcare worker holds a vial of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at the UiTM Private Specialist Centre in Sungai Buloh March 2, 2021. ― Picture by Hari Anggara
A healthcare worker holds a vial of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at the UiTM Private Specialist Centre in Sungai Buloh March 2, 2021. ― Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 3 ― DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng today offered the Opposition’s aid to help the government source funds to procure enough Covid-19 vaccines for the remaining 18.8 million adults in Malaysia.

The Bagan MP noted Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin’s disclosure yesterday that Putrajaya is negotiating with Pfizer Inc for Malaysia’s 2022 vaccine procurement, following an increase in price per shot to €19.50 (RM97.83) from €15.50 previously.

The former finance minister also urged the government to consider other alternatives, such as buying the remaining 11.2 million Sinovac vaccines from local pharmaceutical company Pharmaniaga Berhad, instead of waiting for Pfizer.

“Khairy claimed the government does not have enough money to purchase from Pharmaniaga now. Let me state here that the Opposition is willing to lend support to borrowing or sourcing funds for the additional RM1.5 billion, so as to immunise all the 18.8 million of the adult population registered,” Lim said in a statement.

Khairy, who is also coordinating minister for the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme, told the Dewan Rakyat on July 28 that 12.5 million Malaysians have at least received the first dose out of the 18.8 million adults registered.

He also said the RM5.8 billion allotted by the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government for the procurement of vaccines and other related expenditures is not enough to fund the estimated RM1.5 billion cost to procure 11.2 million doses of Sinovac from Pharmaniaga.

Lim said it is necessary to thus borrow the funds needed to do.

“To wait another two to three months until all the vaccines arrive is too long and too late. According to the Health Ministry, of the 15,764 new infections yesterday, 78 per cent of cases were from those who were not vaccinated.

“For those in the most serious Category Five, 98 per cent were from those not vaccinated. How many more Malaysians will die in the next three months because they were not vaccinated?” he added.

“Since the 18.8 million adult Malaysians registered comprise 80.5 per cent of the adult population in Malaysia, 37.6 million doses of vaccines are required. The government has received 26.4 million doses of vaccine, short of 11.2 million doses, which are expected to arrive over the next two to three months,” Lim said.

Based on this figure, Lim said the 18.4 million doses have since been administered, with the remaining eight million doses finishing within 16 days if the current rate of 500,000 doses per day is maintained.

“What is required is another 11.2 million doses of vaccine to enable the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme to immunise immediately all the 18.8 million adults registered.

“As such, why not buy the shortfall of 11.2 million doses from Pharmaniaga, who is selling up to 14 million doses of Sinovac?” he said.

Lim stressed the importance of saving lives instead of saving costs.

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