Malaysia grants conditional approval for CanSino, Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccines

A nurse holds a vial of the Chinese CanSino Covid-19 vaccine in Santiago, Chile, on June 3, 2021.
A nurse holds a vial of the Chinese CanSino Covid-19 vaccine in Santiago, Chile, on June 3, 2021.PHOTO: AFP

KUALA LUMPUR (REUTERS) - Malaysia has granted conditional approval for emergency use to the single-dose Covid-19 vaccines manufactured by China’s CanSino Biologics and United States drugmaker Johnson & Johnson, the government said on Tuesday (June 15). 

The South-east Asian country has been ramping up its vaccination programme, amid a fresh round of lockdowns imposed this month to curb a surge in coronavirus infections. 

Malaysia would obtain Johnson & Johnson’s vaccines via the global Covax facility backed by the World Health Organisation, the Health Ministry said in a statement.

It did not say how many doses it would procure via Covax. 

The government has said previously it had secured 3.5 million doses of CanSino’s shot, though it has yet to receive any shipments of the vaccine. 

The ministry has also approved the use of the vaccine made by US and German drugmakers Pfizer-BioNTech for recipients aged 12 and above, although priority would still be given to those in high-risk groups, it said. 

Malaysia has secured a total of 79.5 million vaccines, enough to cover nearly 125 per cent of its population, including those manufactured by Britain’s AstraZeneca and Chinese firm Sinovac. 

It expects about 1.3 million Pfizer-BioNTech doses to arrive this month and in early July, although another 2.2 million AstraZeneca doses are expected to be delayed following supply issues at the firm’s Thai manufacturing plant. 

A total of 3.28 million people, about 10 per cent of the population, have received at least one dose as at Monday, government records show. 

Daily coronavirus infections and deaths rose to record levels in May, although cases have dipped in recent days. 

Malaysia reported 5,419 new cases on Tuesday, bringing total infections to 667,876. Deaths totalled 3,968 as at Monday.