KUCHING (Sept 18): The Health Ministry (MOH) has a responsibility to explain to the people why Malaysia is not among the 172 countries that have signed up for the Covax Covid-19 vaccine access plan as the participation deadline is today, said Malaysian Medical Association (MMA).
“The MMA believes even if Malaysia has its own bilateral negotiations for a vaccine, signing up for the Covax Vaccine Plan can be an added option that will guarantee access to vaccines for Covid-19.
“We urge the MOH to be transparent on its plans to acquire vaccines for the country. The people have a right to know and the government has a duty to keep the country informed,” the association president Dr. N. Ganabaskaran said in the MMA-issued statement Friday.
He pointed out that even if MOH needs more time, beyond the Covax vaccination plan deadline to decide, the people must know.
“We understand there may be safety concerns on vaccine development being fast-tracked and we are equally concerned. But any potential vaccine will be thoroughly evaluated through stringent checks by MOH for efficacy and safety before they are approved and declared safe for the population.
“The Health Minister must respond now or he may have to answer to the people later on why Malaysia is last in the queue for the vaccines,” he said.
Covax is co-led by an international vaccine alliance GAVI, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness (CEPI), and the World Health Organisation (WHO).
It is a platform that will support the research, development, and manufacturing of a wide range of Covid-19 vaccine candidates that aims to deliver two billion doses of safe and effective vaccines by the end of 2021, which should be enough to protect high-risk and vulnerable people, as well as frontline healthcare workers.
MMA is the main representative body for all registered medical practitioners in Malaysia.