Health Minister Announces That Malaysia Is Developing Its Own COVID-19 Vaccines

The Ministry of Health (MOH) will develop two types of COVID-19 vaccines to speed up the country's immunisation against the virus.

Cover image via Hairul Anuar Rahim/New Straits Times & Dado Ruvic/Reuters

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Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba announced that Malaysia is currently developing its very own COVID-19 vaccines in an attempt to speed up vaccination in the country

In a statement yesterday, 13 June, Adham said his ministry's Institute for Medical Research Malaysia (IMR) is in the process of developing two types of COVID-19 vaccines — a messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine and an inactivated vaccine.

"We hope this would increase the vaccine capacity besides preparing Malaysia for future developmental capacity of vaccines in addition to preparing Malaysia to face future pandemics," he said.

Adham did not explain in the short statement whether the vaccines will be based on vaccines made by other countries or what stages the vaccine development is currently at.

The ongoing National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK) offers three imported vaccines, the US and German's RNA vaccine, Pfizer-BioNTech; China's inactivated vaccine, Sinovac; and the UK's viral vector vaccine, AstraZeneca.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mRNA vaccines are a new type of vaccine to protect against infectious diseases

"mRNA vaccines teach our cells how to make a protein — or even just a piece of a protein — that triggers an immune response inside our bodies," CDC said on its website.

Meanwhile, inactivated vaccines work by using killed viral particles and expose them to the body's immune system without risking a serious disease response, reported BBC.

It is a traditional method of vaccine that has successfully been used to fight against many well-known infectious diseases, such as rabies.

However, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services, inactivated vaccines usually do not provide immunity that is as strong as live vaccines, which is why recipients may need several doses over time to develop immunity against diseases, reported New Straits Times.

As of Sunday, 1,357,966 individuals in Malaysia have completed the two-dose vaccination under PICK

In a tweet yesterday, Adham said 3,132,304 individuals received their first dose. This brings the number of doses administered in Malaysia to 4,490,270.

The Ministry of Health's (MOH) announcement about developing its own vaccines comes amidst criticism over the allegedly slow pace of its vaccination drive.

In the Facebook posts announcing the news, the administrators of Adham's and MOH's official Facebook pages have turned off the comments section.

Read the full statement here:

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