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Phase 3 clinical study of Covid-19 vaccine from China to begin on Jan 21 in nine hospitals, says PM

KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 11): Malaysia will undertake the Phase 3 clinical study of a Covid-19 vaccine developed in China beginning Jan 21 in nine public hospitals under the Ministry of Health (MoH), according to Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

Under this first clinical study conducted in Malaysia, 3,000 volunteers are expected to take part to test the inactivated Covid-19 vaccine developed by the Institute of Medical Biology Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, China.

Malaysia will be the first country outside China to conduct this clinical study for the vaccine, Muhyiddin said.

"All regulatory requirements, including ethical approval from the Medical Review & Ethics Committee and the Clinical Trial Import License from the NPRA (National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency), were obtained on Jan 8, 2021," he said during a nationally televised speech today.

Muhyiddin also said the NPRA has approved the administration of the Covid-19 vaccine developed by American multinational pharmaceutical corporation Pfizer, and that Malaysia is expected to receive the first batch of the vaccine next month.

As part of the preparation to ensure that the distribution runs smoothly when supplies are obtained, Muhyiddin said the MoH has come up with the National Covid-19 Immunization Programme Plan.

Muhyiddin explained that in order to achieve collective immunity, 60%-70% of Malaysians or 20-23 million people need to be vaccinated.

To achieve this, he said the government has signed preliminary agreements with Covax, Pfizer and AstraZeneca to procure their Covid-19 vaccines to secure vaccine supplies for 40% of the population.

For the rest, he said, the government is still in final negotiations with Sinovac, CanSino and Gamaleya to secure more vaccine supplies, to have stock for more than 80% of the country's total population, or 26.5 million.

"The government will ensure that only vaccines that meet our safety, quality and efficacy requirements will be registered and used in Malaysia. This evaluation process is made by the Product Evaluation Committee of the NPRA for approval and the Drug Control Authority for the purpose of registration, before the Covid-19 vaccine can be administered in Malaysia," he assured.

Previously, Muhyiddin announced that he would be among the first batch to get the Covid-19 vaccine inoculation, even before front liners, in a move to assure the people of its safety.

It was also announced previously that all Covid-19 vaccines would be administered for free for all Malaysians, though the government had no plans to make the vaccination compulsory.

Malaysia reported 2,232 new Covid-19 cases today, which raised the number of infections in the country to 138,224, according to MoH director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah in a statement today. Total active cases — which carry transmission risks — were at 28,544.

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