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Private sector may be allowed to buy vaccine after herd immunity achieved, says deputy minister

KUALA TERENGGANU (March 6): The limited global supply of Covid-19 vaccines has made it necessary for the government to monopolise vaccine purchase to ensure the success of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme, said Deputy Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Ahmad Amzad Hashim.

He said although there were requests from the private sector to buy vaccines through the government, the priority now is for the government to get adequate supply speedily to achieve the target of vaccinating 80% or 26.5 million of the population, including foreigners, for free.

“We do get the private sector involved in this [immunisation] programme but as implementers in giving free vaccines. They (the private sector) are not the one who bought vaccines.

“This matter is on our radar; for example, there may be [private] agencies wishing to go overseas on business which face a delay in waiting their turn for vaccines but we haven’t got a policy [to allow vaccine purchase by the private sector],” he told reporters after launching the TD1303 x Jazro Robotic Academy here today.

He said this when asked to comment on reports that the private sector was keen to buy Covid-19 vaccines with the help of the government, currently the only channel to get vaccine supply from manufacturers.

Ahmad Amzad said as of yesterday, more than two million Malaysians had registered for the vaccination, and of this, 112,000 were frontliners who had received their jabs.

He advised the people not to worry about getting any brand of vaccines approved by the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA), which is very thorough on matters of quality and safety of vaccines.

“So far, 279 million doses of vaccines have been administered to individuals in 107 countries. On average, six million people were given vaccine jabs daily and the rate of side effects was low,” he added.

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