By Rozanna Latiff
KUALA LUMPUR () – Malaysia will buy additional doses of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine, bringing the total secured to 32 million, enough to cover half the population, the country’s science minister said on Monday.
The Southeast Asian country last month began a nationwide vaccination program aimed at inoculating 80% of its 32 million people by February 2022.
“All the Pfizer vaccines that have been secured so far are expected to be delivered this year,” Science Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said at a virtual news conference.
Malaysia is also considering dropping negotiations to obtain a single-dose vaccine from US pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson in favor of an agreement with Chinese company CanSino Biologics, which also requires only one dose, Khairy said.
“This is a better option for us compared to Johnson & Johnson, where supplies are expected to arrive only in the fourth quarter of the year,” he said.
The government said last month it had secured 66.7 million vaccine doses, more than enough to cover the population.
In addition to the agreement with Pfizer-BioNTech, Malaysia has also reached a supply agreement with the UK’s AstraZeneca AZN.L>, Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute and China’s Sinovac Biotech and CanSino.