Malaysia to replace nearly expired Covid vaccines with 2.7m new doses

Malaysia is set to receive 2.7 million doses of the new generation bivalent Covid-19 vaccines to replace the nearly expired stock held by the Ministry of Health (MoH). Deputy Health Minister Lukanisman Awang Sauni revealed that, based on current data, only 2.5% of the population have received the second booster shot, leading to the possibility of having to dispose of expired vaccines.

Lukanisman made this statement during the debate on the White Paper on Covid-19 Vaccine Procurement, which was later approved by the Dewan Rakyat. Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa had previously mentioned that negotiations with Pfizer Sdn Bhd regarding the Covid-19 bivalent vaccine were ongoing.

The surplus of vaccine stocks resulted from additional purchases and donations from foreign countries, which deviated from the original plan under the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK). As of June 1, 8.5 million expired vaccines of various brands were stored at MoH facilities and vaccine storage warehouses. Lukanisman assured that the disposal process and reporting on vaccine stocks adhere to the Asset Management Procedures and Store Management Procedures in force, with periodic monitoring of vaccine disposal.

He also shared that, as of May 30, 84.4% of the population had received the full primary dose, 50% had received a booster dose, and 2.5% had received a second booster dose. The government spent a total of US$1.4 billion on the implementation of PICK, including PICKids, from December 2020 to April 30 2023. This expenditure was made through the Covid-19 Fund (KWC) and the National Trust Fund (KWAN).

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Furthermore, Lukanisman reported that the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Division (NPRA) had received 26,717 reports of adverse events following immunisation (AEFI) from February 2021 until April 30, with only 1,868 reports (7%) involving serious adverse effects. Regarding the Special Financial Assistance for Covid Vaccine Side Effects, he disclosed that 319 applications had been received, with 150 approved and a total payment of US$595,000 made until May 31.

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Lee Shuyi

Lee is an expat writer living in Thailand. She specialises in Southeast Asian news for the Thaiger. When she's not writing, Lee enjoys immersing herself in Thai culture and learning Thai.

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