Following last week’s announcement that the government will not be ordering additional Sinovac COVID-19 vaccines for the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK), Deputy Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob has revealed that Pharmaniaga will be selling 14 million doses of the two-dose vaccine to private companies and state governments.
The direct sale of the vaccine had received the approval of the Special Committee on COVID-19 Vaccine Supply (JKJAV) and will be sold from this month until September. The move intends to expedite Malaysia’s goal of vaccinating 100% of its adult population by October of this year.
Even though Sinovac is no longer part of PICK, the government has decided to purchase another two million doses to cover Operation Surge Capacity, which aims to vaccinate the whole adult population of Klang Valley by 1 August.
DPM Ismail added that state governments such as Selangor who have long asked to directly purchase vaccines for its population may now reserve them from Pharmaniaga. That being said, he also noted that all purchase applications will be reviewed by JKJAV first.
In general, this announcement is in line with what Khairy Jamaluddin, the coordinating minister of PICK already announced back in June that private companies would be able to sell COVID-19 vaccines starting from August. Another vaccine expected to hit the private market is China’s Sinopharm vaccine, which was recently given conditional approval by the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency.
Following the approval, Kanger International, a bamboo product manufacturer partially owned by Perlis royalty, announced that it had signed a deal to purchase and distribute five million doses of the Sinopharm vaccine although the version that the company purchased is manufactured in UAE. Kanger is expected to supply the vaccines to the Sabah government as the parties have already signed a Memorandum of Understanding back in May.
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