Ministry health

Covid-19: over RM4.7 billion spent on vaccine purchases, says Ministry of Health

KUALA LUMPUR: A total of 88.1 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine worth an estimated RM4.72 billion have been ordered by the government for the national immunization programme, the Ministry of Health says.

This includes 20.4 million doses of Sinovac, 44.8 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech for adults and adolescents as well as an additional 6.6 million doses for children.

The government has also acquired 6.4 million doses of AstraZeneca from the World Health Organization-backed Covid-19 Global Vaccine Access Center (Covax), 6.4 million doses of AstraZeneca from the University of Oxford and 3.5 million doses of CanSino.

This brought the number of vaccines purchased to a total of 88.1 million doses as of February 18, covering 143.13% of the population, or 46.03 million adults, adolescents and children.

“Because the government is bound by non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) with vaccine manufacturers, details of each agreement cannot be disclosed,” the ministry said.

He added in a parliamentary written response that this includes the price of the vaccine.

“However, the cost of procuring each type of vaccine was explained during the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) proceedings in Parliament held on August 2, 2021,” the ministry said.

This was in response to a question from Lim Lip Eng (PH-Kepong) who asked the Minister of Health to indicate the number of doses of Covid-19 vaccine, needles and syringes and related supplies purchased by the government since 2020 and their costs.

Lim also asked about the total dose of vaccines disposed of and the reasons for their disposal.

The ministry said a total quantity of 89,089,900 units of ‘low dead volume’ (LDV) syringes and needles were procured for administering the vaccine at a cost of RM36.83 million.

“At the same time, the ministry also received contributions of LDV syringes and needles of 2.7 million units worth RM891,000,” he said.

Regarding the number of vaccines disposed of, the ministry said it was still compiling data and carrying out checks on it and could only inform the public once the process was completed.

Among the causes of Covid-19 wastage and disposal are issues with temperature deviations that compromise the quality, safety and efficacy of the Covid-19 vaccine, he said.