Putrajaya is in talks with India over the purchase of Novavax vaccines to combat COVID-19.

According to Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, he has met with the Indian High Commissioner regarding the matter.

Besides government-to-government talk, Khairy is also discussing with the Serum Institute (of India) regarding the purchase of the Novavax vaccine.

"It is proven in their clinical data that this vaccine's protein recombinant works effectively.

"Of course, we are talking to India and we are talking to everybody else also," the New Straits Times (NST) quoted the minister telling reporters after visiting a vaccination centre in Ipoh, Perak, earlier today.

India has exclusive rights over the US-manufactured drug, which some studies have shown is 96 percent effective in reducing mild, moderate or severe disease.

Khairy added that while talks are ongoing with India regarding the purchase of Novavax vaccine, the country however, has offered to sell Covaxin, its homegrown vaccine from Bharat Biotech.

The vaccine, which is widely used in India in its immunisation programme, however, is yet to undergo the third phase of clinical trials.

It is also worth noting that India has shipped tens of thousands of COVID-19 vaccines to several countries in what is being dubbed as "vaccine diplomacy".

On whether Malaysia will get vaccines for free from India as well, Khairy said it would not as the country is categorised as an upper middle income country.

"We don't get discounts, we don't get it for free, we need to buy ourselves," he was quoted.

As of last Friday, more than 275,000 Malaysians have been vaccinated in Phase 1 of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme, which covers medical and non-medical frontliners.

The second phase from April until August will cover senior citizens aged over 65 years old and other high-risk groups while the final phase, from May until February next year, is targeted at the general adult population aged 18 and above.

As if yesterday, there have been a total of 324,971 COVID-19 cases in the country, and 1,213 deaths from the disease.

The global infection and death tally from the coronavirus have surpassed 120 million, and 2.67 million, respectively.

Source: NST, time.com
Photo source: Astro Awani