Khairy: Putrajaya will ask Saudi govt for leeway on Sinovac jab for Malaysian Haj pilgrims

Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Khairy Jamaluddin speaks during a press conference at the Malaysia International Trade and Exhibition Centre in Kuala Lumpur May 30, 2021. —  Picture by Firdaus Latif
Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Khairy Jamaluddin speaks during a press conference at the Malaysia International Trade and Exhibition Centre in Kuala Lumpur May 30, 2021. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

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KUALA LUMPUR, May 30 — The Malaysian government will seek a discussion with its Saudi Arabian counterpart to consider some leeway on its vaccinated Muslims on a pilgrimage to Islam’s holiest city.

Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin sought to allay the anxieties of Malaysian Muslims that they may not be allowed entry into Mecca to perform the Haj after being given Sinovac, which is not on the Saudi Arabian government’s approved list of Covid-19 vaccines.

“If they have registered or have been jabbed with Sinovac, then we will discuss this matter with the Saudi Arabia government to accord leeway to them,” Khairy said in a news conference from the International Trade and Exhibition Centre here this afternoon.

“This is because for Haj pilgrims who have yet to be vaccinated or go through Tabung Haji, we give them Pfizer, but there are those who had missed this and they registered on their own and had gotten Sinovac and I feel the numbers are not huge.

“However, for this group, we will discuss with the Saudi Arabia government. I have also asked for advice from our expert committee, whether one after being jabbed with Sinovac, can they be injected with Pfizer. Even for that, I have not received a response. If there is, I will inform later,” added Khairy, who is also the coordinating minister for the national Covid-19 immunisation programme.

Last week, national news agency Bernama reported Islamic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri saying that the Sinovac brand of vaccine was not in the Saudi government’s list of approved vaccines and that Putrajaya is also still waiting to find out this year’s Haj quota for Malaysia.

He advised prospective pilgrims to register for the Covid-19 vaccination through the MySejahtera application or via www.vaksincovid.gov.my to enable them to receive the Pfizer-BionTech, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson or Moderna vaccines that recognised by the Saudi Arabia government.

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