Malaysia to be priority recipient of China's Covid-19 vaccine, says Hishammuddin

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KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 13): China has agreed to list Malaysia as a priority recipient of the China-produced COVID-19 vaccine once it successfully developed, said Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein.

The Foreign Minister announced this in a joint news conference after the bilateral meeting with his visiting Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, here, Tuesday.

"We welcomed and appreciated China's commitment in providing Malaysia with Chinese-produced COVID-19 vaccines, once successfully developed and listing Malaysia as a priority recipient.

“We also welcomed China’s agreement to encourage Chinese enterprises to establish all-round cooperation with Malaysian partners in vaccine research and development, and distribution,” he said.

Elaborating further, Hishammuddin said Malaysia is also monitoring closely the development of the vaccine, adding that getting the vaccine is a matter of high priority of the government.

“If we want to find a way forward in dealing with COVID-19 there are only two ways into it, one is to prevent by vaccination, the other is to cure by medication,” he added.

He said China has announced the vaccine is now being developed in the country and could be ready for use by the general public as early by November.

"The visit (by Wang Yi) to Kuala Lumpur is the new platform for us to make sure that we are not left behind in vaccine cooperation and coordination," he said.

“As the foreign ministry, we must continue to negotiate and assure (that) Malaysia establishes diplomatic agreement with our counterparts to make sure that when we make the decisions based on the trials and when it’s made public, Malaysia will not be left behind,” Hishammuddin said.

On the same note, Wang said China is making good progress on the development of the COVID-19 vaccines, adding that China stands ready to provide its vaccines to other countries.

He said out of the eight vaccines that are currently under phase three clinical trials, four are being developed by China.

He added that China disapproved the attempts by certain countries to monopolise and dominate the vaccine market.

“In our views, vaccine should be provided to serve the health of all human race. In this sense, President Xi Jinping had announced that once the Chinese vaccines are developed and available, it will be made international public good for all countries, especially China wants to contribute its share to improve the accessibility and affordability of (a) vaccine for developing countries.

“Malaysia is a good friend of China, we enjoy traditional friendship; if there is any need of Malaysia for vaccine, we are open for that and we stand ready to pursue details of cooperation and to carry out collaboration on that,” Wang said.

Securing the vaccine to treat COVID-19 has been a paramount mission for all countries as the deadly virus had killed over one million people and infecting over 37.7 million people worldwide to date.

Wang told ASEAN foreign ministers in a meeting via video conference in September that China would prioritise the distribution of the vaccines to ASEAN countries after the republic meets its domestic needs.

Earlier, Hishammuddin and Wang had attended two closed-door meetings, where they had discussed among others the way forward to enhance economic cooperation, post-pandemic collaborations, and strengthening existing ties and cooperative efforts between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing as well as global and regional issues.

Wang, who is also China's State Councillor, is currently on an official visit to several ASEAN countries – with Cambodia as his first stop – before arriving here Monday.

He is scheduled to leave for Singapore later today and will conclude his tour with visits to Laos and Thailand.

He had last visited Malaysia in 2018.