, pub-5475981771945671, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0

State govts free to purchase Moderna, Sinopharm vaccines - Free Malaysia Today

Vaccine minister Khairy Jamaluddin and Penang chief minister Chow Kon Yeow at the press conference in George Town, Penang, today.

GEORGE TOWN: Vaccine minister Khairy Jamaluddin today said state governments are free to buy vaccines from companies yet to be engaged by Putrajaya.

He said the states are free to negotiate with drug makers Moderna and Sinopharm, whose vaccines have been approved by the World Health Organization.

At a press conference here, Khairy said that as long as the vaccines have been given the green light by the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency, the states are free to procure them.

He also revealed that Malaysia has administered 3.5 million doses to date, beating countries such as Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines.

Khairy said states which wanted to buy vaccines that are already in use such as Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Sinovac would have to wait until the federal government receives all the doses it ordered.

“There is no block or monopoly by the federal government. Please do not say we are blocking. You are free to buy after we finish our orders. If states want to negotiate with (vaccine makers) of the likes of Moderna or Sinopharm, go ahead, we can facilitate from the federal level,” he said.

Khairy said the ramping up of vaccines is on schedule, with a target of 150,000 shots a day this month, and 200,000 next month.

He said the current dose per day rate has reached 105,655 per day as of yesterday. He said 1,000 general practitioners would be allowed to give jabs by this month, while 600 are “almost ready” as of now.

Asked why some in their 60s have gotten their shots in other states, while those in the Klang Valley and Penang have yet to get theirs, he said the delay was caused by the higher population of older folk in such populous states.

He said the vaccination for those in their 70s in places like KL, Selangor and Penang are still being administered.

He said he will look into a suggestion by Penang chief minister Chow Kon Yeow to give an estimated appointment period, such as a month like July or August, to all so as to calm down those who have yet to get a vaccination appointment.

He also repeated a call to not arrive at vaccination centres too early, saying the recent crowd at a centre in Bandar Sunway was due to people arriving two hours ahead of their appointment.

Earlier, he visited the Spice Arena, an exhibition hall turned into a mega vaccination centre in the state.

It will be able to administer 133,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine from June 7 to 27. He said the centre will begin with 1,000 shots per day, gradually increasing to 3,000 on weekdays and 5,000 shots on weekends.

He said he would also look into a proposal to set up vaccination centres at industrial zones, starting with the Bayan Lepas and Batu Kawan industrial parks for factory workers.

Chow, who was with Khairy, said he was pleased to hear that there would be a 9,000 to 10,000 shots a day target for the state, which was well on its way to get 1.34 million out of 1.77 million Penangites vaccinated.