Malaysia grants conditional approval for CanSino, J&J COVID-19 vaccines

Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine approved for recipients aged 12 and above

  
Vials of a COVID-19 vaccine candidate, a recombinant adenovirus vaccine named Ad5-nCoV, co-developed by Chinese biopharmaceutical firm CanSino Biologics Inc and a team led by Chinese military infectious disease expert, are pictured in Wuhan, Hubei province, China March 24, 2020. Picture taken March 24, 2020. China Daily via REUTERS

Vials of a COVID-19 vaccine candidate, a recombinant adenovirus vaccine named Ad5-nCoV, co-developed by Chinese biopharmaceutical firm CanSino Biologics Inc and a team led by Chinese military infectious disease expert, are pictured in Wuhan, Hubei province, China March 24, 2020. Picture taken March 24, 2020. China Daily via REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia has granted conditional approval for emergency use to the single dose COVID-19 vaccines manufactured by China's CanSino Biologics and U.S. drugmaker Johnson & Johnson, the government said on Tuesday.

The Southeast 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 Organization, 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 U.S. and German drugmakers Pfizer and 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% 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% of the population, have received at least one dose as of 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 of Monday.

(Reporting by Joseph Sipalan and Rozanna Latiff Editing by Ed Davies) ((rozanna.latiff@thomsonreuters.com; +61 3 9492 9423 ; Reuters Messaging: @rozlatiff on Twitter))


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