Malaysia to buy more Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines

KUALA LUMPUR — Malaysia will buy additional doses of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine, bringing the total secured to 32 million, enough to cover half of its population, the country’s science minister said on Monday.

The Southeast Asian country last month embarked on a nationwide vaccination programme, targeting to inoculate 80% of its 32 million people by Feb. 2022.

“All of the Pfizer vaccines secured so far are expected to be delivered by this year,” science minister Khairy Jamaluddin said at a virtual news conference.

Malaysia is also considering dropping negotiations to procure a single-dose vaccine from US pharmaceutical firm Johnson & Johnson, in favour of a deal with Chinese company CanSino Biologics, which also requires only one dose, Mr. Khairy said.

“This is a better option for us compared to Johnson & Johnson, where supplies are expected to arrive only in the fourth quarter of the year,” he said.

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The government said last month it had secured 66.7 million vaccine doses, more than enough to cover its population.

In addition to the deal with Pfizer-BioNTech, Malaysia has also reached supply agreement with Britain’s AstraZeneca AZN.L, Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute, and China’s Sinovac Biotech and CanSino. — Reuters

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