Sunday, 25 Jul 2021

Malaysia's Kelantan opts for Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine over Sinovac, other states to follow

KOTA BARU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – The Kelantan Health Department’s director said on Thursday (July 15) the Malaysian state will stop dispensing the Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine and replace it with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at all the state’s vaccination centres by the end of July.

Kelantan health director Dr Zaini Hussin said supplies of the Sinovac vaccine would be halted at the end of the month.

“From Sunday (July 18), all vaccination centres in Kelantan will only be supplied with enough Sinovac vaccines for second doses,” he was reported as saying by Malaysian daily Harian Metro on Thursday.

He declined to explain why the state would stop using the Sinovac vaccine but said it did not involve a lack of supply of the vaccines to Kelantan.

“After this, Kelantan will only use the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine,” he was quoted as saying.

Health Minister Dr Adham Baba said at a news conference on Thursday the decision to stop administering Sinovac was mainly down to vaccine supplies, and that other states will follow Kelantan’s lead and predominantly offer the Pfizer vaccine.

“For Pfizer, we have ordered a total of around 45 million doses while for Sinovac we ordered only around 16 million doses. So it started in Kelantan and soon other states will follow,” he said.

Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah corroborated the move, saying Pfizer made up the majority of Malaysia’s National Immunisation Programme’s portfolio.

“Basically it is because we have sufficient supply of the Pfizer vaccines, of more than 44 million doses, so now the main vaccine that will be used is the Pfizer vaccine,” he said.

Kelantan’s Dr Zaini was also reported by Bernama news agency as saying that should the federal government supply the state with Sinovac or any other Covid-19 vaccines in the future, they would still be used.

Malaysia has fully vaccinated  12.3 per cent, or 4 million, of its 32 million population. At least 26.5 per cent of the population have received at least one dose, officials say.

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