KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 25): The 70% target of Malaysian population to get the Covid-19 vaccine in the first quarter of 2021, will focus on adults to enable the country to reach the herd immunity threshold, said Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.

He said if the herd immunity threshold is achieved, those who have not been vaccinated would be protected from Covid-19 infection.

“There will be some who will not get the vaccination because most of the Covid-19 vaccines developed have not been tested on children under the age of 12, so definitely they will not be vaccinated next year.

“So this will probably be the non-vaccinated percentage, we will concentrate of the adult group in achieving herd immunity,” he said when winding up the debate of the Supply Bill 2021 at the Dewan Rakyat sitting today.

He said the government would not compromise on health and safety and would obtain the preliminary and interim safety data so that Malaysians are not made laboratory rats.

He said the government would examine the clinical data provided by companies producing the vaccine especially those developing the Covid-19 vaccine for procurement.

“According to current plans, we will be able to get hold of the first vaccine in the first quarter of next year and an announcement will soon be made by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin,” he said.

Responding to Lim Lip Eng’s (PH-Kepong) interjection on the country’s selection criteria for the procurement of Covid-19 vaccine, Khairy said the ministry was in talks with companies from several countries including the United States, Russia and China to determine the vaccine with the best portfolio for Malaysia.

He said before the vaccine procurement, studies were made on whether the vaccines provided sterilising immunity to protect against the infection or just to prevent serious spread of infection.

Khairy also informed that an independent Covid-19 vaccine evaluation committee has been set up under the Covid-19 Vaccine Access Guarantee Special Committee, chaired by epidemiologist Prof Datuk Dr Awang Bulgiba Awang Mahmud, comprising nine members with various expertise such as virology, molecular immunology and infectious diseases.

“We have taken this approach so that in determining the vaccines, we will seek this independent expert advice, to ensure that decisions are not based on any ministry’s recommendation,” he said in reply to Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad (PH-Kuala Selangor) who asked who were involved in the vaccine procurement.

Source: https://www.theedgemarkets.com/article/70-target-covid19-vaccination-malaysia-will-focus-adult-group-%E2%80%94-khairy