CYBERJAYA: Malaysia's Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry will recommend to the Cabinet that the COVID-19 vaccine is provided free to all Malaysians, said minister Khairy Jamaluddin on Wednesday (Aug 19).
"The Cabinet has not decided yet, but my recommendation is that once we have purchased the COVID-19 vaccine, they should be given to all Malaysians free of charge," he told a press conference after the launch of the National Technology and Innovation Sandbox.
READ: Malaysia in talks with China over potential MOU for early access to COVID-19 vaccine: Science and technology minister
Malaysia is in talks with China over a potential memorandum of understanding to ensure access to the COVID-19 vaccine when it is safe to use, said Khairy earlier this month.
Khairy said on Wednesday that apart from China, Malaysia is also looking at other vaccine manufacturers.
"The National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Division under the Health Ministry requires data from the clinical trials to be shared before the purchase could be approved. That data will tell us whether or not the vaccine is safe and effective," he said.
Khairy said the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry had been assigned by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to negotiate directly with the vaccine manufacturers so that Malaysia would be able to purchase doses at the best possible price.
Khairy also expressed concern over equitable access to the vaccine especially for developing countries such as Malaysia, saying that big pharmaceutical companies tend to lock in sales for large countries.
"We don't like seeing countries entering into advance purchase with pharmaceutical companies, monopolising the purchase of vaccine. That's happening today," he said.