Hospitals group tells public to sign up for NIP, not to wait for private vaccines

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The Association of Private Hospitals of Malaysia (APHM) says the public should not wait for the private sector to procure their own vaccines.

Its president Dr Kuljit Singh said the public should instead register with the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (NIP) through MySejahtera to help the country achieve herd immunity.

“Based on the scarcity of vaccines and the processes involved in registration, there is a bleak chance of having private Covid-19 vaccines early as it is only slated to have them not before September or October.

“It would be rather futile to wait for these privately procured vaccines if the aim is to enhance herd immunity unless there are some changes made to the approval system,” he said in a statement issued this morning.

Currently, Putrajaya is only in the planning stages to allow the private sector to bring in vaccines that are not already being procured for the NIP.

This will still be subject to approval by the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA).

Vaccines currently being used in the NIP include Pfizer-BioNTech, Sinovac, and AstraZeneca.

One possible candidate for private procurement is the Moderna vaccine, which de facto vaccination minister Khairy Jamaluddin said was too expensive for the government.

Separately, there is currently a pilot programme where the government provides vaccines for free, but the cost of the immunisation process will be borne by the private sector.

In the meantime, Kuljit said private hospitals will vaccinate the public via the NIP.

“We feel at this point of time our contribution to assist the government in this way is more realistic than trying to procure our own vaccines,” he said.

Over 100 private hospitals will be participating in the vaccination programme, he said.

For those still hoping for private vaccination, Kuljit said private hospitals may be equipped with their own vaccines in the future to administer Covid-19 booster shots. – Malaysiakini