FORMER Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has urged the Government to contact India and get its COVID-19 vaccines as well, in order to speed up the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme.
“I predict that India will have an excess of COVID-19 vaccines as they are the largest vaccine producers in the world.
“And I believe the nation’s vaccination programme may be hampered by logistics issues, on top of convincing their citizens to accept the vaccines.
“So, please call India immediately and book additional vaccines from them to boost Malaysia’s mass vaccination programme. Just don’t send Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad for negotiations,” he said, in a Facebook post.
On Sunday, the first batch of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Malaysia at 10am. It was carried on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH604, an Airbus 330-300 aircraft operated by MAB Kargo Sdn Bhd (MASKargo).
The arrival of the passenger-to-cargo (P2C) flight, carrying 312,390 doses of the vaccine was welcomed by Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba, Coordinating Minister for the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme Khairy Jamaluddin, who is also the Science, Technology and Innovation Minister, along with Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong and Health Director-General Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.
India’s vaccines are certified by the WHO
Khairy had said that the registration for vaccination will remain open until the Government manages to inoculate at least 80% of the population.
India has two COVID-19 vaccines; with one being Covishield (India’s name for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine developed in the UK) and Covaxin, locally-made by a pharmaceutical company, Bharat Biotech.
The subcontinent manufacturers 60% of the world’s vaccines and is home to major pharmaceutical companies.
Najib said that the AstraZeneca (Covishield) vaccine is approved by the World Health Organization (WHO), adding that Canada had also liased with India for the latter’s vaccines as other suppliers had delayed their distribution to the former.
“And India had promised to send one million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines to Canada, in a week or two. So, I urge our Perikatan Nasional Government not to delay the matter any longer.
“Ask India’s for its vaccines so that we can speed up our own mass inoculation programme,” the Pekan MP remarked. – Feb 23, 2021.