Malaysia To Produce And Export The World's First Halal Vaccines
"We are hoping to have the facility ready between two to three years from now and start to produce the vaccine."
Malaysia's largest pharmaceutical company, Pharmaniaga Bhd has invested RM100 million to make halal vaccines in Puchong, Selangor
According to a report by New Straits Times (NST), Pharmaniaga recently signed a collaboration agreement with the Malaysian Ministry of Finance's Technology Depository Agency (TDA) and Hilleman Laboratories, a Delhi-based vaccine research organisation.
"We already have a building in Puchong. We are in the midst of putting the facilities in, which will include all the equipment.
"We are hoping to have the facility ready between two to three years from now and start to produce the vaccine," explained Pharmaniaga managing director Datuk Farshila Emran.
The vaccine manufacturing facility will conduct clinical trials, manage regulatory measures, and commercialise the products.
Farshila said that the company will produce vaccines for diphtheria and meningitis, among others
It was reported that it will take the company around five years to commercialise the research by Hilleman Laboratories.
Health Minister Datuk Seri S. Subramanian assured that the halal processes for producing the vaccines will be approved by the Department of Islamic Development or Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia (JAKIM).
Dr Subra hopes that the local production of halal vaccines can reduce the number of anti-vaccine groups in the country
He revealed that the rising public doubt among Malaysians on the halal status of vaccines is partly why some people are rejecting the vaccination programmes provided by the Health Ministry.
"So far, more than 95% of Malaysians have received a complete vaccination programme carried out by the Health Ministry," he added, as reported by Bernama yesterday, 5 December.
The halal vaccines are expected to be made available to the public as early as 2020 or latest by 2022.
There has been a significant increase in the number of parents rejecting vaccination for their children based on fears that the vaccines are haram as they may contain porcine DNA
The Health Ministry has rubbished all these allegations, calling them baseless. It assured that all medicines and vaccines dispensed to patients in the country are halal and safe.
"The Health Ministry, however, does not compel the administering of vaccines but we encourage parents to get their children vaccinated as they have been proven to reduce the mortality rate of babies," explained Health Director-General Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah in a report by Bernama.
In 2015, Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya revealed that the number of cases of vaccine rejection by parents had increased from 470 in 2013 to 1,054 in May 2015
Dr Noor Hisham said that most of these parents are influenced by anti-vaccination groups who blame vaccines for a wide range of health problems.
He stressed that the number of incidents involving vaccine preventable diseases is steadily rising.
"Malaysia has achieved low levels of vaccine-preventable diseases (VPD) for diseases such as diphtheria and neonatal tetanus, but that does not mean these diseases have disappeared completely.
"Many of the viruses and bacteria are still circulating in this country and that is why it is important that children, especially infants, receive the recommended immunisations on time," added Dr Noor Hisham, as reported by NST in January 2016.