290,480 vials of locally packaged Sinovac now in use

A total of 290,480 vials of the Covid-19 Sinovac vaccine, locally packaged by Pharmaniaga Bhd, will be used at vaccination centres (PPV) nationwide starting today, said health minister Dr Adham Baba.

It was the first batch handed over by the company to the health ministry, he said.

“We are now in the second phase of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme. As reported, we received 400,000 doses of Covid-19 Sinovac vaccine from Beijing.

“The remaining vials from the first batch will also be used at PPVs this month,” he told a press conference after the handover ceremony of the (Sinovac) vaccine in Malaysia undertaken through the fill-and-finish process here.

In February, Pharmaniaga’s wholly-owned subsidiary Pharmaniaga Lifescience Sdn Bhd (PLS) received 200 litres or the equivalent of 300,000 doses of the first batch of Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine in bulk for the batch manufacturing validation process.

This was a historic moment for Malaysia and an equally important one for the company in its efforts to pioneer vaccine production and as the first vaccine factory to undertake the “fill-and-finish” process in Malaysia.

To ensure sufficient supply of the vaccine, Adham said the government was constantly in talks with the manufacturers of the AstraZeneca and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines, and has also targeted receiving 3.97 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech between April and June.

Meanwhile, Pharmaniaga group managing director Zulkarnain Md Eusope said that, to date, PLS had submitted the first four batches for validation and quality control purposes by good manufacturing practices to the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA).

“After undergoing several quality control tests according to NPRA regulations, the ‘fill and finish’ vaccine produced by PLS was approved by the Malaysian Drug Control Authority on April 23,” he said.

Zulkarnain said fill-and-finish vaccine production is now at its maximum level and PLS is capable of producing two million doses of vaccine a month. - FMT