Malaysia will observe the effectiveness level, side effects and quality of the COVID-19 vaccine for use in the United Kingdom (UK) before deciding on a COVID-19 vaccine for Malaysia, said Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.
Dr Noor Hisham said if the vaccine used in the UK shows promising results and has low documentation of side effects in the first three months, this will convince Malaysia to use the vaccine.
"Whatever happens, we will wait for the phase three clinical test report which we have yet to see or study and we need the data before any decision is made.
"Our agreement is that the vaccine is vital and it must be registered with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA), Ministry of Health," he said.
He said the UK is the first country to allow the emergency use of the COVID-19 vaccine and the country is expected to receive delivery of 40 million doses.
"So we have time to see how the vaccine works among the population in the UK and maybe other countries will also get their respective regulatory authorities to adopt the clause for emergency use of a vaccine which has not been licenced.
However, he said this would be out of the question for Malaysia as the regulatory procedures as determined in the act must be adhered to, to ensure the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Authority (MHRA) recently approved Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine. - Bernama