Malaysia Receives China’s Sinovac Vaccine For Regulatory Testing

Malaysia received China’s Sinovac vaccine on Saturday, the second brand of Covid-19 shots days after the Southeast Asian country kicked off its inoculation program.

The vaccine arrived in bulk totaling 200 liters, which will then be processed into 300,000 doses, according to Pharmaniaga Bhd., the firm that will package and distribute the shots. The company last month signed an agreement for Sinovac Biotech Ltd. to supply 14 million doses in stages that will cover 22% of the population. The roll-out is still subject to regulatory approval.

Malaysia has secured 66.7 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine from producers, including Sinovac, AstraZeneca Plc, Sputnik V, and CanSinoBio, enough to inoculate nearly 110% of the population. Pfizer remains the only manufacturer to receive the government’s conditional approval for usage, and is set to deliver a total 32 million dosages.

The Sinovac doses arrived in bulk so that the country’s regulatory agency can conduct stability testing to ensure that the vaccine, and its manufacturing process, is safe, Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said in a briefing Saturday. While the government would prefer the vaccine to be approved as quickly as possible, “there’s no shortcut,” he said.

“We take note of where these vaccines are being used around the world but we have our own regulatory agency,” he said. “The government’s position is to please take whatever that the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency has approved.”

Pharmaniaga said in a statement that the vaccine’s process validation batch manufacturing, a requirement by the regulatory agency, will start on March 1 and is expected to be completed within 12 days.

A total of 1.183 million registrations have been recorded so far and 3,583 people have taken the shot, according to Khairy.

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