Kj Lashes Out At Global Vaccine Inequity After Hungary Comparison
Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin has lashed out at global vaccine inequity and countries which hoard Covid-19 vaccines, amidst criticism that Malaysia’s vaccination programme rollout is slow compared to other countries.
He was responding to an Utusan Malaysia comment piece today that had compared the vaccination programme rollout in Malaysia and in Hungary, after an Utusan Malaysia reporter asked for his comments on it in a press conference.
“I like that Utusan Malaysia used the example of Hungary. Are you aware Hungary is part of the European Union (EU)? And that the EU had negotiated with the vaccine manufacturers as a bloc with the purchasing power of the EU?
“And among the vaccine manufacturers, some of them are based in Europe, so they have been hoarding vaccines from the start.
“Asian countries including Japan, a developed country, are very behind (with the vaccination) compared to European countries, the US, the UK, Canada and so on.
“This includes South American countries, which received a lot of assistance from the US,” Khairy said.
He was speaking at a joint press conference with Health Minister Dr Adham Baba which was held at Putrajaya today and broadcast online simultaneously.
Hungary, he stressed, is part of the EU which had already cornered the vaccine market from the start.
Khairy reiterated again that the vaccination rate is dependent on vaccine supply.
“Even though our focus is on a higher vaccination rate and the government is working hard to achieve that, the point that should be brought up is the question of global vaccine inequity, where a big part was hoarded and bought by developed countries including Hungary as a member of the EU,” he said.
Khairy pointed out that countries like the UK had bought enough vaccine doses to fully inoculate their population several times over.
“Only this month we received offers of donation from countries that have been hoarding the vaccines… countries like the US, Japan and China.
“‘Oh hi, Malaysia, would you like some vaccines?’ We have been waiting for a long time,” said Khairy, who was visibly frustrated.
Instead of comparing Malaysia to Hungary, he questioned why not compare Malaysia’s vaccination rate with neighbouring countries like Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.
“We are far ahead of them, and we are near Japan at this time,” he said.
Khairy also defended opening mega vaccination centres (PPVs) so late into the rollout, as he said they simply did not have enough vaccine supply to justify opening them earlier.
If they had opened the mega PPVs earlier without sufficient supply, he said the rakyat would have scolded the government for being wasteful. - Mkini
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