Amid a surge in Covid19 cases, spurred on by the highly-contagious Delta variant that is wreaking havoc among Southeast Asia’s 650 million people, senior health authorities in Malaysia are reportedly “writing off” the China-made Sinovac vaccine because they aren’t satisfied with the results it has shown so far.
Malaysia’s Ministry of Health last week announced they would no longer be replenishing their Sinovac inventory once supplies run out because of its “limited efficacy” against the Delta variant, unlike other Western brands.
Health Minister Adham Baba disclosed the Malaysian government had already inked a purchase contract with Pfizer-BioNTech for 45 million doses which is sufficient to cover 70 percent of its population.
Adham said Malaysia, which is one of the top economies in the ASEAN region, had previously secured 16 million doses of Sinovac. He said half of this has already been distributed, while the balance will be used for the second doses.
“For those who have yet to be vaccinated, they will receive the Pfizer vaccine,” he was quoted as saying.
As of July 26, Malaysia has recorded some 1.13 million infections and 8,000 deaths despite being under a strict lockdown since last June.
Indonesian health officials likewise said they were “dissatisfied” with the performance of China’s Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines, which they had mainly relied on to combat Covid infections.
Doubts regarding the efficacy of Sinovac and Sinopharm surfaced after some 350 health workers unexpectedly contracted the coronavirus, with several dying.
Initially, Indonesian Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said his government would be procuring Moderna vaccines from the US to serve as booster shots for some 1.47 million health workers (most of whom had received Sinovac’s CoronaVac vaccine).
Reports said China had provided some 85 percent of the vaccines that Indonesia already received, as of June 2021.
Indonesia is Southeast Asia’s most populous nation, with around 275 people. And Covid-wise, it has the worst statistics with over 3.1 million cases and 83,000 deaths.