Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Khairy Jamaluddin on September 19, has said that Malaysia will be joining in the global COVAX Covid-19 vaccine access plan co-led by the World Health Organization (WHO).
However, not long after, headlines surfaced that the country has yet to sign legally binding agreements or expressed non-binding intentions to join COVAX.
MOSTI’s position on the inclusion of Malaysia in COVAX also presented a differing view with the Minister of Health Adham Baba who sounded less optimistic.
Adham had said that the country has no plans yet to join the vaccine access plan.
Under COVAX, higher income countries will finance the Covid-19 vaccines from their own national budgets, while low and middle-income countries will receive financial support to access the vaccines.
This means that joining the plan would guarantee access to vaccines for Covid-19. So, what exactly is stopping Malaysia?
While Malaysia had missed the deadline, the government decides to reiterate their cooperation with China in obtaining the vaccines without having to undergo the COVAX allocation plan.
Khairy this time around, has appeared less firm in joining COVAX.
The Malaysian government has previously been advised by health experts to join COVAX, pointing out that it could be difficult task to pick a particular pharmaceutical company or a country to make a bilateral agreement with, stressing that a wrong bet made could badly affect the government.
At this point, the status of Malaysia joining COVAX is still unknown.