Health Ministry Approves Sinopharm Covid 19 Vaccine Noor Hisham
Malaysia's health authority today greenlighted the Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine for use in the country, under conditional emergency approval.
In a statement, Health Ministry director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the decision on the vaccine by the China National Pharmaceutical Group Corporation, known as Sinopharm, was made in a Drug Control Authority Meeting earlier today.
The meeting also decided to give conditional approval to another Covid-19 vaccine - Janssen - which is produced by US-based company Johnson & Johnson.
Janssen was given conditional registration by Malaysia last month when the country officially recognised a list of vaccines under the World Health Organisation (WHO)'s Emergency Use Listing.
The Sinopharm vaccine, known as Covilo, is a "vero cell" inactivated vaccine that requires two doses to be administered at a 21-day interval.
According to the WHO website, the vaccine has an efficacy of 79 percent against symptomatic Covid-19 infection which kicks in 14 days or more after the second dose is completed.
It also has a 79 percent efficacy against hospitalisation.
With the approval, Sinopharm becomes the sixth vaccine that is allowed for emergency use in the country.
Other vaccines which have been approved by the drug authority so far are Pfizer, Sinovac, AstraZeneca, and CanSino.
However, it is learnt that Sinopharm may not go into the government-sponsored National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (NIP).
According to Ghows Azzam, an adviser to minister Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin who supervises the programme, the vaccine would be made available for purchase in the private market.
"Sinopharm will be supplied by Duopharma. It is not under the government's portfolio, but will be available in the private market," Ghows said in a Tweet where he shared Noor Hisham's announcement on the conditional approval.
It is yet to be confirmed if this is an official decision by the Special Committee for Ensuring Access to Covid-19 Vaccine Supply (JKJAV), which Khairy co-chairs with Health Minister Dr Adham Baba.
For the record, JKJAV is the authority that decides which vaccine goes into the government immunisation programme. - Mkini
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