The government today denied that the cost of Covid-19 vaccines was more expensive here than in Belgium.
Commenting on the matter, Deputy Finance Minister 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 RM1.38 billion.
“Belgium will provide two doses of vaccines to each of its citizens at an estimated cost of RM82.40 (per person),” he said while winding up the Temporary Measures for Government Financing (Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19)) (Amendment) Bill 2020 in the Dewan Negara.
Meanwhile, Putrajaya, 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 the vaccine for a Malaysian is RM77.35. This shows that our price is lower than that of Belgium. I hope this explanation can avoid any further confusion,” he said.
An allegation which had gone viral previously claimed that Malaysia paid about 20 times higher for the Covid-19 vaccine compared with what the Belgian government had paid.
On the allegation that “middlemen” were involved in the vaccine procurement process, Shahar assured that the supply of vaccines was obtained directly from the pharmaceutical companies.
In addition, the other three procurement methods were participation in the “Covax facility” and “Covax optional purchase agreement”, government-to-government bilateral agreement, and open tenders.
“I am confident that the Special Committee on Covid-19 Vaccine Supply Access Guarantee, jointly chaired by the health minister and the science, technology and innovation minister, under the supervision of the finance ministry, will ensure that all these matters are prioritised so that the vaccine preparation plan is at an optimal level,” he said. - FMT