Be transparent over Covid-19 vaccine plans, MMA tells Putrajaya

One hundred and seventy-two nations have signed up to join the global vaccine development platform COVAX before today’s deadline. (AP pic)

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) has urged Putrajaya to be more transparent about its plans to acquire Covid-19 vaccines for the country, after it was reported that Malaysia was not on the list of 172 countries that have signed up for the global vaccine development platform COVAX.

MMA president Dr N Ganabaskaran said the people deserve to know why Malaysia had not signed on for the COVAX initiative, as the deadline for countries planning to participate ends today.

“Even if the health ministry needs more time beyond the COVAX vaccination plan deadline to decide, the rakyat must know,” he said in a statement.

Ganabaskaran said Health Minister Dr Adham Baba should answer to criticism now, or risk needing to answer to the rakyat later on as to why Malaysia was last in the queue for Covid-19 vaccines.

COVAX is a platform jointly coordinated by international vaccine alliance Gavi, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and the World Health Organization.

It aims to support the research, development and manufacture of a wide range of Covid-19 vaccines through a pooled procurement mechanism. Higher-income countries would need to provide large upfront funding to finance the global effort in securing a vaccine.

The platform aims to provide participating economies fair and equitable access to vaccines.

“MMA believes even if Malaysia has its own bilateral negotiations for a vaccine, signing up for the COVAX vaccine plan can be an added option that will guarantee access to vaccines for Covid-19,” Ganabaskaran said.

He said that despite safety concerns about fast-track vaccine development, potential vaccines would be thoroughly evaluated through stringent procedures by the health ministry for efficacy and safety, before being declared safe for use.