Pharmaniaga to offer two million Covid-19 vaccine doses to economic front liners and foreign workers

Pharmaniaga to offer two million Covid-19 vaccine doses to economic front liners and foreign workers
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KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 2): Pharmaniaga Bhd has obtained extra two million Covid-19 vaccine doses from China's Sinovac Life Sciences Co Ltd, on top of the 12 million that it will supply to the government for Malysian citizens.

Its managing director Datuk Zulkarnain Md Eusope told the media in a virtual briefing that the government had told the pharmaceutical firm to offer the extra two million vaccine doses to economic front liners among the government-linked companies (GLCs), foreign workers and expatriates.

"In our discussion with the government for the Covid-19 vaccine supply, we have agreed to supply a total of 12 million doses to the government.

"Since we have an additional two million doses, the government has asked us to look into providing the additional doses to economic front liners among the government-linked companies, foreign workers and expatriates," said Zulkarnain.

"These are the areas that we have looked into and analysed. When we have completed our detailed analysis we will discuss with the government on how to supply the vaccines to the private sectors," he added.

Meanwhile, for Malaysian citizens, the vaccination will be provided for free under the government's programme, he noted.

To recap, Pharmaniaga in January signed an agreement with Sinovac Life to purchase 14 million doses of ready-to-fill Covid-19 vaccine and to manufacture the vaccine domestically.

Subsequently, the Ministry of Health (MoH) signed term sheet agreements with Pharmaniaga's subsidiary Pharmaniaga Lifescience Sdn Bhd for the procurement of 12 million doses of Sinovac's Covid-19 vaccine.

Currently, the supply of Sinovac's Covid-19 vaccine is subject to approval from the local authorities, namely the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA).

"We have submitted our registration to the NPRA on Jan 19, and it will take three weeks to one month for the approval. We expect to receive approval from NPRA by end-February or early-March," said Zulkarnain.

Zulkarnain added the company hopes to start the fill-and-finish process of the vaccine as soon as possible when Sinovac's Covid-19 vaccine arrives.  It is targeting to deliver the first one million doses of the Sinovac vaccine to the government in April. This will be followed by two million doses per month thereafter.

Pharmaniaga is one of the two pharmaceutical companies that have signed an agreement with the MoH for the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines. The other company is Duopharma Biotech Bhd, which will be supplying 6.4 million doses of Russian-developed "Sputnik V" Covid-19 vaccine.

Kathy Fong