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Covid-19 Vaccine Will Only Be Available For Use By June 2021 If M’sian Govt Doesn’t Expedite Approval



For illustrative purposes | Source: Dr Kelvin Yii/Facebook & Bangkok Post

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Considering getting the vaccine distributed is of the utmost importance in these unprecedented times, let’s hope the government expedite its approval!

With news of Singapore receiving its first shipment of Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine today, the first of such shipments in Asia, our hopes to finally see the end of this pandemic seems to be in sight. However, it seems that Malaysians might have to wait until as late as June 14 next year to actually be able to receive a Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine shot.

It was revealed by Member of Parliament (MP) for Bandar Kuching, Dr Kelvin Yii Lee Wuen that Pfizer-BioNTech only submitted its dossier and data to Malaysia’s National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) under the Ministry of Health (MOH) on 14 December 2020.

Furthermore, according to NPRA’s assessment procedures, it would take a minimum of 90 days or a maximum of 120 working days for them to approve Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine. The minimum of 90 working days is only if NPRA expedites the process via priority review.

MP for Bandar Kuching, Dr Kelvin Yii speaking in Parliament.

Hence, if we were to assume that December 14 was when the application was processed, the latest date for Malaysia’s first Covid-19 vaccine approval would be 14 June 2021. If NPRA expedites the process, the earliest would be 26 April 2021.

Do bear in mind that this would only amount to approval of the vaccine and not its distribution and logistics. If we were to add all this into the equation, the Malaysian public inoculation against Covid-19 would only start by May 2021 at the earliest.

The Bandar Kuching MP also stressed that this time frame is a bit too slow and requested for the government to expedite the process. This is especially more important given the projection by US-based Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) that our country will experience a continuous rise in Covid-19 cases until mid-March 2021.

The projection estimated that Malaysia will have over 5,000 daily infections starting from 25 February. That would mean that our healthcare system would be overwhelmed by April or June if mass vaccination is not yet done by then.

With various countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom already vaccinating their citizens with Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine, let’s hope our government would take an exemption to procedures and expedite the vaccine’s approval.

Should bureaucracy take a step back in the matter of public health? Or should our government make sure that the vaccine is safe before distributing them to the public?

What do you guys think of the whole situation? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!


Also read: Singapore Receives First Shipment Of Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 Vaccine

Source: CNA

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