PETALING JAYA: It is currently more realistic for private hospitals to help in vaccinating Malaysians than to try to procure their own vaccines, says Datuk Dr Kuljit Singh (pic).

The Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia (APHM) president said it was currently unlikely for private hospitals to procure their own vaccine supplies to help in the mass inoculation programme as they would only be able to procure vaccines before September or October.

“We welcome the announcement made by Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin that now state governments and private hospitals can purchase Covid-19 vaccines other than those used in the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (NIP).

“However we understand that at this current moment the availability of vaccines are limited, and based on the current numbers of infected persons and the infectivity rate, the importance of urgent vaccination for all categories of age is essential to achieve an early herd immunity, ” he said in a statement.

He added that private hospitals were “pessimistic” to procure their own vaccine supplies at the earliest time, especially with vaccines that are yet to be registered with the National Pharmaceutical Registration Agency (NPRA).

“Based on scarcity of the vaccines and the processes involved in registration, there is a bleak chance of having private Covid-19 vaccines early, ” he said, adding that the private healthcare will not expect to get them before September or October.

Dr Kuljit added that as such, it would be “futile” to count on privately procured vaccines to boost herd immunity unless there are changes to the NPRA approval system.

“Private hospitals are now working with the National Immunisation Programme to vaccinate the public using all types of vaccines purchased by the government.

“More than 100 private hospitals will be participating together with all the government vaccine centres, following the list of vaccine recipients from MySejahtera.

“We feel at this point of time our contribution to assist the government in this way is more realistic than trying to procure our own vaccines, ” he said.

He added however if Covid-19 vaccination programmes should be done yearly, private hospitals will be ready with various types of vaccines for private consumption.

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