AstraZeneca says Malaysia getting 6.4m Covid-19 vaccine shots at cost

AstraZeneca will supply 6.4 million doses of its Covid-19 vaccine to Malaysia next year without profit. — Reuters pic
AstraZeneca will supply 6.4 million doses of its Covid-19 vaccine to Malaysia next year without profit. — Reuters pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 23 — AstraZeneca will supply 6.4 million doses of its Covid-19 vaccine to Malaysia next year without profit, according to the pharmaceutical firm’s country president.

AstraZeneca Malaysia’s Dr Sanjeev Panchal also said the delivery of the AZD1222 vaccine would be in the first half of 2021.

“AstraZeneca is proud to reinforce our commitment to Malaysia and support the government’s Covid-19 vaccine strategy by providing 6.4 million doses of the AstraZeneca/University of Oxford’s potential vaccine, AZD1222, at no profit during the period of the pandemic.

“I am grateful for the government’s guidance and leadership, and look forward to deepening our cooperation to fight Covid-19,” he said in a statement today.

Dr Sanjeev also confirmed the supply agreement for the vaccine that Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced yesterday, which would provide enough vaccination coverage for approximately 10 per cent of Malaysians.

Under the agreement, AstraZeneca will also expand its global manufacturing capacity to ensure a dedicated supply of AZD1222 for Malaysia.

This takes place in parallel to the ongoing clinical trials in the United States, the United Kingdom, Brazil, South Africa, Japan and Russia.

An interim analysis of the Phase III programme conducted by Oxford University with AZD1222, peer-reviewed and published in medical journal The Lancet on December 8, has indicated the vaccine is safe and effective at preventing symptomatic Covid-19 as well as protecting against severe disease and hospitalisation.

To this end, AstraZeneca is working together with the Health Ministry and the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry on the preparations for swift and science-led regulatory approval.

The vaccine uses a replication-deficient chimpanzee viral vector based on a weakened version of a common cold virus (adenovirus) that causes infections in chimpanzees and contains the genetic material of the SARS-CoV-2 virus spike protein.

After vaccination, the surface spike protein is produced, priming the immune system to attack the SARS-CoV-2 virus if it later infects the body.

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