Yesterday (28 August), Prime Minister, Ismail Sabri Yaakob has announced that the National Covid-19 immunisation programme (PICK) will now be handled by the Ministry of Health (MOH) through the newly appointed Health Minister, Khairy Jamaluddin.
According to Bernama, the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI), now handled over to former Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba, will focus on research and development (R&D) to produce COVID-19 vaccines.
“If prior to this, there were two related ministries (COVID-19) namely MOH and MOSTI, besides a committee chaired by two ministers, two secretaries-general and two directors-general… it is quite difficult if it remains as two because they may have different views and so on.”
“MOSTI will focus on producing its own vaccine because if Thailand can announce that it is producing its own vaccine, then Malaysia can also do the same because COVID-19 will be endemic and will be around us like dengue, which means vaccines are still needed.”
“(And) that is why MOSTI has to focus (on this) so that we don’t depend on foreign countries because when the number of cases increases and we still depend (on vaccine supply) from abroad, that will cause supplies to be affected. If we can produce our own vaccines, the situation will be different.” he said.
When Adham was the Health Minister during the Perikatan Nasional (PN) rule, he has came under fire for various gaffes, including the most recent “Spanish fly” and “Spanish flu” incident, where he mistakenly referred the sex stimulant as the deadly pandemic that took place a century ago.
Previously, Adham was under fire for advising the public that drinking warm water can kill off the Covid-19 virus during a television programme and for saying that he had gone on a World Health Organization conference call with 500 countries.
Meanwhile, the health experts had expressed their willingness to work with Khairy following his appointment to the health portfolio, as he had proven himself in managing PICK previously.
On the other hand, former Health Director-General, Dr Ismail Merican has also urged for the vaccination programme to be put under the ministry after Khairy takes over.
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