Khairy: Malaysia won’t fast-track Covid-19 vaccine approval, will evaluate fully

Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin says Malaysia will not rush the approval of Covid-19 vaccines for ‘emergency use’ as some other nations have done. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin says Malaysia will not rush the approval of Covid-19 vaccines for ‘emergency use’ as some other nations have done. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 12 — Malaysia will not rush the approval of Covid-19 vaccines for “emergency use” as some other nations have done, said Khairy Jamaluddin.

The Science, Technology and Innovation minister said the country would ensure that any vaccines procured would go through thorough evaluation by the authorities to ensure their safety.

“In Malaysia, there will be no political pressure and we will not use the emergency-use pathway.

“The clinical data of the vaccines we procure will be independently evaluated by the [Health Ministry’s National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency] NPRA before it can be registered and used,” he said.

The minister was commenting on a report of the US Food and Drug Administration expediting approval for the Pfizer-Biontech vaccine due to pressure from the outgoing Trump administration.

Donald Trump is pushing for the vaccine to be rolled out before the formal transition to President-Elect Joe Biden next year in order to claim credit for his administration.

Malaysia has ordered the Pfizer-Biontech vaccine and an alternative from COVAX that would roughly cover 30 per cent of the population, which will be delivered in batches next year.

However, no country has yet given full regulatory approval to any Covid-19 vaccine candidate so far.

This has led to some sections here in Malaysia and elsewhere to express concern over the potential dangers and side effects that may have been overlooked in the rush to produce a reliable vaccine against the world-stopping Covid-19 pandemic.

The Health Ministry has repeatedly assured Malaysians that any and all vaccines to be used here will be fully studied and evaluated to ensure they are safe to use.

Malaysia is grappling with a third wave of Covid-19 infections that has pushed the country’s total cases to over 80,000.

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