KUALA LUMPUR: China has agreed to include Malaysia on a list of priority recipients for a COVID-19 vaccine once it is successfully developed.
This was announced on Tuesday (Oct 13) by Malaysia's Foreign Affairs Minister Hishammuddin Hussein during a joint news conference with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, who is in Malaysia as part of a short Southeast Asian tour.
"We welcomed and appreciated China's commitment in providing Malaysia with Chinese-produced COVID-19 vaccines, once successfully developed and listing Malaysia as a priority recipient," he said.
"We also welcomed China's agreement to encourage Chinese enterprises to establish all-round cooperation with Malaysian partners in vaccine research and development and distribution."
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Hishammuddin also said that Malaysia is monitoring the development of the vaccine closely, adding that getting the vaccine is a matter of high priority for the government.
"If we want to find a way forward in dealing with COVID-19 there are only two ways into it, one is to prevent by vaccination, the other is to cure by medication," he said.
China has said that the vaccine could be ready for use by the general public as early as November, he added.
"The visit (by Wang Yi) to Kuala Lumpur is the new platform for us to make sure that we are not left behind in vaccine cooperation and coordination," Hishammuddin said.
“As the foreign ministry, we must continue to negotiate and assure (that) Malaysia establishes diplomatic agreements with our counterparts to make sure that when we make the decisions based on the trials and when it’s made public, Malaysia will not be left behind."