KUALA LUMPUR (BERNAMA) – The Malaysian government yesterday has denied that the cost of COVID-19 vaccines for its citizens is more expensive than in Belgium.
Commenting on the matter, Deputy Finance Minister II Mohd Shahar Abdullah said the Belgian government had ordered 33.5 million doses of vaccines to be given to 16.7 million people in the country at a price of MYR1.38 billion.
“Belgium will provide two doses of vaccines to each of its citizens at an estimated cost of MYR82.40 (per person),” he said while winding up the Temporary Measures for Government Financing (Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)) (Amendment) Bill 2020 in Dewan Negara yesterday.
Meanwhile, the Malaysian government, he said, paid RM2.05 billion for the procurement of 26.5 million COVID-19 vaccines to be given to 26.5 million people in the country.
“The cost of vaccines for a Malaysian is MYR77.35. This shows that our price is lower than that of Belgium. I hope this explanation can avoid confusions,“ he said.
An allegation viraled previously claiming that Malaysia paid the COVID-19 vaccine price at about 20 times higher than that paid by the Belgian government.
On the allegation that there was the involvement of ‘middlemen’ in the vaccine procurement process, Mohd Shahar assured that the supply of vaccines was obtained directly from the pharmaceutical companies.
In addition, the other three procurement methods were participation in ‘Covax facility’ and ‘Covax optional purchase agreement’, Government-to-Government (G2G) bilateral and open tender in the long run.
“I am confident that the Special Committee on COVID-19 Vaccine Supply Access Guarantee chaired by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation under the supervision of the Ministry of Finance will ensure that all these matters are prioritised so that the vaccine preparation plan is at an optimal level,” he said.