Kuala Lumpur – The government today said that it will not compromise on the safety, efficacy and stability of COVID-19 vaccines, with a final decision on the usage subject to their approval and registration by the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) under the Ministry of Health.
Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said there will be no corners cut in NPRA’s independent evaluation of the clinical data.
“The government takes the issue of safety very seriously. One of the main objectives of the first two phases of clinical trial is safety. Every vaccine must pass these two phases and must be proven safe before the vaccine enters phase three.
“At the moment, none of the COVID-19 vaccines in phase three trials have sufficient data to demonstrate sterilising immunity which shows that infections can be prevented. More information will be available as trials progress,” he said in a statement, in response to Gua Musang Member of Parliament (MP) Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah’s statement on COVID-19 vaccines.
The media reported that Tengku Razaleigh, in his comment on the recent deal between the government and pharmaceutical company Pfizer for the procurement of COVID-19 vaccine, said the vaccine that has never been used on humans before has been developed too quickly and the government has a lot to answer before allowing its use in Malaysia.
Khairy said the estimated allocation of RM3 billion by the government can acquire enough doses to cover 70 per cent of the population, not just 20 per cent as alleged by Tengku Razaleigh, and that the Pfizer deal clearly has not used up the entire allocation.
Khairy also stressed that the Vaccine Safety Net (VSN) consists of a diverse group of websites which provides vaccine safety information in various languages, evaluated by the World Health Organization and meeting the criteria for good information practices.
“Perhaps the Gua Musang MP would like to check the veracity of the resources he quotes when preparing a statement,” he added.
Furthermore, Khairy said the COVID-19 vaccine development has been fast-tracked due to several factors, mainly relating to science and technology that has evolved quite significantly over the past decade with new platforms such as messenger RNA (mRNA) and adenoviral vector-based vaccines.
“These developments took place before the pandemic and were quickly adapted to develop a vaccine for COVID-19,” he said. – Bernama