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COMMENT | On Nov 27, Putrajaya made three important Covid-19 vaccine announcements: a purchase agreement for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, payments to the Convax Facility and the start of a clinical trial with a Chinese vaccine.

This was followed by the Dec 2 announcement that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was approved by the United Kingdom’s Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). What does all this mean for the average Malaysian?

Firstly, this means that Malaysia is making good progress in the global race for the vaccine. Putrajaya’s strategy of hedging is working, i.e. by keeping all vaccine options open and continuing to negotiate with various producers. Results from clinical trials are still coming in and we may need several vaccine manufacturers to cover the stated aim of 70 percent of the population to attain the herd immunity threshold. It is important to note that this threshold is still being calculated by epidemiologists and could be higher than 70 percent.

Having multiple sources of the vaccine is a good strategy. Having only one manufacturer as the sole distributor for Malaysia’s vaccine supply might expose us to price hikes and supply chain disruptions. As any decision on vaccines carries its own benefits and risks, the most viable strategy should aim to ... 

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