Bioalpha eyes private sector vaccination; targets expats and migrant workers

BIOALPHA Holdings Bhd is not competing head-on with the Government’s free-of-charge vaccination programme. Instead, it has found a niche market to capitalise upon.

The integrated health supplement company has set its targets on both expatriates and foreign workers from various industries, the latter of which is considered a vulnerable group to the COVID-19 virus.

“We have been receiving queries from corporates who are interested to inoculate their employees. including foreign workers, as soon as possible once regulatory approvals are granted, and are willing to pay for it,” Bioalpha managing director William Hon pointed out.

“This is mainly due to challenges in relation to the foreign workers’ dormitories and transportation where they tend to congregate in large number.”

Hon was referring to the alarming spike in daily number COVID-19 cases with the manufacturing and construction sectors contributing to high infection rate.

To facilitate its plan, Bioalpha through its wholly-owned subsidiary Bioalpha International Sdn Bhd (BISB) has entered into a procurement and distribution agreement with Shanghai Bukun Trading Co Ltd (SBTC) for the procurement and distribution of vaccines in Malaysia.

The agreement is effective from today (Jan 25) and shall remain in force for a period of two years.

It is also been endorsed by COVID-19 vaccine developer Sinovac Biotech Co Ltd. SBTC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sinopharm (Hainan) Health Industry Co which in turn is part of the Sinopharm Group Co Ltd or China National Pharmaceutical Group, China’s largest state-owned pharmaceutical and healthcare enterprise.

For the initial batch, BISB shall purchase a total of 100,000 doses from SBTC with subsequent orders can go up to one million doses.

The vaccines would be purchased on a “ready-to-administer” basis which will not require further fill and finish processing. In terms of timeline, the delivery of the vaccines to BISB shall be three weeks after payment is made.

“At the moment, Bioalpha is in the midst of discussion with the Health Ministry (MOH), National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) and the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry (MOSTI) to ensure effective implementation of the initiative,” noted Hon.

“The group will be submitting application to NPRA soonest possible for the registration of vaccine in Malaysia, relying on clinical data from China, Indonesia, Turkey and Brazil.”

As for the distribution of the vaccines, Bioaplha is leveraging its existing network in the healthcare industry, Zuellig Pharma Sdn Bhd to undertake the facilitation of the import, warehousing and distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines in Malaysia.

Additionally, the company is partnering with iHEAL Medical Services Sdn Bhd to undertake the vaccine administration exercise.

Apart from administrating the vaccine at the medical centre, iHEAL will also provide services such as arranging on-site vaccination with a mobile team of medical practitioners, designating a large space to undertake mass vaccination efficiently, providing a certificate of vaccination and professional consultation post-vaccination, among others. – Jan 25, 2021

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