Minister says not a problem for state govts to buy own Covid-19 vaccines... if they have access to stock

Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Khairy Jamaluddin speaks to reporters during a visit to the vaccination centre at the Indera Mulia Stadium in Ipoh March 16, 2021. — Picture by Farhan Najib
Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Khairy Jamaluddin speaks to reporters during a visit to the vaccination centre at the Indera Mulia Stadium in Ipoh March 16, 2021. — Picture by Farhan Najib

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IPOH, March 16 — Putrajaya will not object if state governments purchase Covid-19 vaccines for their own immunisation programmes, Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said today.

However, Khairy, who is also in charge of the national Covid-19 immunisation programme, said the problem is not in the procurement, but in the supply of the vaccines.

“On the matter of buying the vaccines, everyone is interested, but the problem is the access of the vaccines.

“If they can get the vaccines, then I don’t have any problem with that. We can give the permission to the state governments for the procurement, but just that at this moment, I know there is a problem in the supply,” he told a press conference after visiting the vaccination centre (PPV) at the Indera Mulia Stadium here.

He said several states have indicated their intent to buy the vaccines for their own immunisation programme, naming Selangor, Pahang, Johor and Sarawak among them.

To Khairy, the focus now should be on encouraging everyone in Malaysia who has yet to do so to register for the national immunisation programme as the sole authority that vets the vaccines for approval is the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA).

“For now we want to solve the registration for the vaccines purchased by the federal government via the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency.

“There is a lot of work here. NPRA has to sanction two more vaccines. So once that has been solved, maybe NPRA can help the state governments with the procurement of the vaccines,” he said.

The minister also said community engagement is being carried out in rural areas in the country, particularly in the east coast of the peninsula and in Sabah to encourage more people to register for the vaccination programme.

“I have also met MPs at several states for instance in Kelantan and Terengganu to ask them to encourage their constituents to register for the programme,” he added.

Khairy’s deputy Datuk Ahmad Amzad Hashim disclosed yesterday that of all states, Kelantan had the lowest registration rate with only 11.8 per cent having done so through the MySejahtera app.

Other states with low registrations include Terengganu at 16.3 per cent and Pahang at 17.1 per cent of their respective state populations.

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