Covid-19 vaccines produced by Pfizer should for now be given to Malaysians who work in Singapore instead of those produced by Sinovac to ensure recognition by Singapore, Kulai MP Teo Nie Ching said today.
Teo today sought for assistance and assurance from Khairy Jamaluddin — the coordinating minister for Malaysia’s National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme — that all those who receive Covid-19 vaccines under Johor’s ImmuPlan would be given Pfizer-produced vaccines.
Under the Johor Immunity Planning System (ImmuPlan) mentioned by Teo, the Johor government aims to help 100,000 Malaysians working in Singapore receive Covid-19 vaccinations, if they fulfil requirements such as having valid working permits in Singapore or employment letters.
The ImmuPlan — which is for economic frontliners — started registrations since April 29 and will start operating tomorrow (July 29) with details of scheduled vaccinations to be shown through the MySejahtera app.
While lauding the Johor state government’s efforts through ImmuPlan, Teo highlighted one remaining concern on whether Sinovac or Pfizer Covid-19 vaccines would be administered, due to their different statuses currently in Singapore.
Teo said this is important as it could determine whether Malaysians working in Singapore and immunised via ImmuPlan would need to go through a longer quarantine period.
Teo said that Singapore currently allows the Sinovac vaccine to be administered there under the special access route after the World Health Organisation’s approval for emergency use, but noted that those who received the Sinovac vaccine do not count towards Singapore’s national vaccination targets.
“In other words, when we finally open the Malaysia-Singapore border and there is mutual recognition of Covid-19 vaccination, there is a possibility that those vaccinated with Sinovac will not be deemed as fully-vaccinated by Singapore authorities,” she said in a statement.
In outlining the possible consequences if Malaysians working in Singapore receive Sinovac Covid-19 vaccines for now, Teo said they may not be able to enjoy a shortened quarantine period if and when Singapore does decide to reduce the quarantine duration for those fully vaccinated.
Those travelling from Malaysia to Singapore currently need to undergo a 14-day quarantine.
“Singapore authorities previously said that there will be differentiated safe management measures for people vaccinated under their national programme. Malaysians working in Singapore won’t be included if they are vaccinated with Sinovac,” she said of another possible consequence.
Teo however also noted that Sinovac had recently submitted the required safety data for its vaccine to the Singapore government to apply for the Pandemic Special Access Route approval, adding that it was possible that the Singapore government would extend concessions on safe management measures to those who have received Sinovac very soon.
“However until that happens, Malaysians travelling and working in Singapore will need the kind assistance of KJ to ensure that they will be given Pfizer under ImmuPlan,” she concluded, referring to Khairy by his initials.