Pharmaniaga group managing director Zulkarnain Md Eusope (front) signs the agreement witnessed by Malaysia's Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob (C, back), Health Minister Adham Baba (R, back) and Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin (L, back) at the signing ceremony of COVID-19 vaccine supply agreement between Pharmaniaga and Sinovac, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Jan. 12, 2021. Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac is partnering with Malaysian pharmaceutical company Pharmaniaga for the supply of 14 million doses of its inactivated COVID-19 vaccines to Malaysia after the two companies signed an agreement on Tuesday. (Xinhua/Zhu Wei)
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan. 12 (Xinhua) -- Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac is partnering with Malaysian pharmaceutical company Pharmaniaga for the supply of 14 million doses of its inactivated COVID-19 vaccines to Malaysia after the two companies signed an agreement on Tuesday.
The agreement includes a fill and finish process of the Sinovac's COVID-19 vaccines by Pharmaniaga with the vaccines starting to be distributed to the Malaysian public by the end of March, according to Pharmaniaga, one of Malaysia's leading pharmaceutical groups and a government-linked company.
The process will take place at its small volume injectable plant with the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) being tasked to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements.
In his speech at the signing ceremony, Pharmaniaga group managing director Zulkarnain Md Eusope said the agreement is an important milestone in the fight against COVID-19, bringing the two countries closer together through technology exchange against a common enemy.
"For the last 12 months or so, it has been a race between humans against the deadly virus. It has been a race between the best of brains in the world against time to save the fully stretched health systems that have reached their maximum capacity," he said.
"Today, we have not only witnessed two pharmaceutical companies coming together, but also witnessed two countries standing together for one very important common cause," he added.
The signing ceremony was witnessed by Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, Health Minister Adham Baba and Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, among others.
Zulkarnain added that as Malaysia has yet to have the capability to develop vaccines locally, the agreement and partnership would allow it to gain invaluable experience from working with Sinovac's leading scientists and getting access to a reliable vaccine.
"This type of vaccine is very reliable and the technology has been proven to be dependable since it was established 40 years ago. It is also ready to use and needs no dilution like some other COVID-19 vaccines offered in the market," he said.
Khairy, whose ministry is coordinating vaccine procurement, told a press conference following the signing that he is happy with the agreement and the government is expected to sign the procurement agreement of the vaccines with Sinovac and Pharmaniaga soon.
The 14 million vaccines from Sinovac would cover 7 million people, covering more than 20 percent of Malaysia's total population, said Khairy.
"Overall we are happy with the decision for Pharmaniaga to sign with Sinovac today. We will finalize the government half of it mostly by next week," he said, adding Malaysia is "happy" with clinical trial results of Sinovac's vaccines.