KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 25 — The National Science Council has agreed to develop a national vaccine development roadmap, Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Khairy Jamaluddin has said.
According to Khairy, the objective of the roadmap is to make Malaysia a country that is able to produce vaccines for humans in 10 years’ time.
“For now, Malaysia does not have adequate facilities to develop vaccines for human usage (end-to-end).
“But realising changes from time to time, a positive step needs to be taken.
“The National Science Council has agreed that a national vaccine development roadmap should be developed with the objective of making Malaysia a country that can produce vaccines for humans in 10 years’ time,” he told the Dewan Rakyat during his winding-up speech on the Budget 2021 Bill debate.
Khairy said the roadmap is expected to be ready by the second quarter of 2021.
He was responding to Jerlun MP Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir who asked if the government has plans to develop its own Covid-19 vaccine in the future to reduce dependency on foreign countries.
Apart from this, the Rembau MP said the ministry has set up a new fund called Mosti Combatting Covid-19 Fund to encourage research and development on ways to control and contain Covid-19.
“Mosti has approved a project through this fund to Universiti Malaya worth RM2.1 million for the purpose of developing Covid-19 vaccine.
“Mosti hopes that this will be a platform for local vaccine creation to reduce the dependency on foreign vaccines,” he said.
In addition, Khairy said there is also transfer of technology and expertise that is currently being discussed through agreements with foreign counterparts.
“For example our partnership with China, the agreement which I signed last week, they have agreed to help strengthen Malaysian research and vaccine development.
“Also with Russia, our agreement will not be limited to only purchasing the vaccines but also transfer of expertise to develop vaccines for Covid-19 and ther virus,” he added.
When responding to Pontian MP Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan's question on whether remaining 30 per cent of the Malaysian population would receive Covid-19 vaccination next year, Khairy said the government is adopting the science of herd immunity.
“When it reaches herd immunity, the infection will not occur among those who have not been vaccinated.
“That's the science behind herd immunity, where, when we reach level following the 1-1 r-nought formula,” he said.
He gave the example of children below 12-years-old who could be among the 30 per cent who would not be receiving the vaccine, as vaccine testing in all countries has been done for children of this age group.
“So we will focus on the adults for us to reach the level of herd immunity as I have said earlier,” he said.