Malaysia will be joining Covax initiative, says ministry

One hundred and seventy-two nations have been reported to have signed up to join the global vaccine development platform Covax. (AP pic)

PETALING JAYA: The science, technology and innovation ministry has clarified that Malaysia will, in fact, be signing up for the global Covid-19 vaccine development platform Covax, after it was reported yesterday that the nation was not on the list of registered countries.

The ministry said Putrajaya is currently discussing the terms of joining the Global Alliance for Vaccine and Immunisation (Gavi), which is managing the Covax initiative.

It added that Putrajaya was preparing the agreement to join the Coalition for Epidemic and Preparedness Innovations (Cepi) and government-to-government agreements with Beijing for access to vaccines set to be developed by pharmaceutical firms in China.

It also said the health ministry has signed non-disclosure agreements with several international pharmaceutical firms who are in phase three of their vaccine testing.

“Malaysia’s approach in joining Covax, forming strategic partnerships with other countries and directly negotiating with pharmaceutical companies will ensure Malaysia obtains sufficient supply of the vaccine,” it said in a statement today.

It added that this will ensure the vaccine will be acquired quickly and at an affordable price once it has been proven to be safe and effective.

“The science, technology and innovation ministry will coordinate the agreement on behalf of the government.”

The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) yesterday 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 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 ended yesterday.