Iskandar Puteri MP Lim Kit Siang has sought further clarification on the cost to purchase Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccines, in comparison to the rate announced by Belgium.
This came after Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said it was “incorrect” of Lim to claim that Belgium is paying 20 times less for the Pfizer vaccine compared to Malaysia.
“Dare Khairy say that Malaysia has got Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine (at) only 10 times higher than Belgium, or better still, that Malaysia has got Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine cheaper than Belgium?
“What is what?” asked Lim, who insisted his calculation was based on Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s reported remarks for an RM3 billion allocation to immunise 6.4 million of Malaysia’s population.
“Surely, Malaysians are entitled to information for such a comparison, which is not caught by the confidentiality clause which governments had to enter with drugmakers to purchase the Covid-19 vaccine?”
Lim’s comparison to Belgium was made based on a statement by its secretary of state, Eva De Bleeker, who accidentally revealed that her country paid 12 euros (approximately RM60) per dose for Pfizer’s vaccine.
Given that Malaysia has an estimated population of 31 million, the RM3 billion allocation would work out to about RM138 per person to vaccinate about 70 percent of the population.
Khairy, in his initial response to Lim, clarified that the RM3 billion allocation is an overall estimate for a range of Covid-19 vaccines, instead of just from Pfizer, to immunise at least 70 percent of the population.
Taking to Twitter, Khairy said he will reveal further details on five Covid-19 vaccines in Malaysia’s purchase list at a press conference tomorrow.
“I will hold a press conference tomorrow at Mosti after cabinet to furnish the public with further information. Lim is welcome to attend,” he said.
“Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has just announced our updated portfolio of Covid-19 vaccines.
“After signing deals with Covax, Pfizer and Astra Zeneca and finalising agreements with Sinovac, CanSino & Gamaleya, we will have vaccines for almost 83 percent of our population at RM 2.05bn,” he tweeted.
To Lim’s questions on arrival for the first batch of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccines, Khairy reiterated that the first delivery is scheduled for February next year, subject to regulatory approval from the Health Ministry.
Overall, Khairy also said he is open to brief the bipartisan Parliamentary Select Committee on related procurement details in the interest of permissible disclosure. – Malaysiakini