SEPANG: Malaysia received 500,000 doses of the Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine today, the first delivery out of one million doses contributed by the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Abdullah said the UAE assistance would greatly complement Malaysia’s effort towards tackling the pandemic and it signified a significant Malaysia-UAE diplomatic relation.

“... we would like to thank the Embassy of the UAE for facilitating and coordinating the shipment of the Covid-19 vaccine (Sinopharm) contribution.

“May our relations as the two brotherly countries remain strong for future cooperation and for the benefit of the Ummah as a whole,” he told reporters after the vaccine handover ceremony at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), today.

Also present were Charge d’Affaires ad interim of the UAE Embassy in Kuala Lumpur Nour Ibrahim Ali Rashed AlKuwaiti, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) Deputy Secretary-General (Management) Harjeet Singh s/o Hardev Singh as well as other senior officials from the MOFA and Health Ministry (MOH).

On the vaccine contribution, Nour said the remaining 500,000 Sinopharm doses would be submitted to Malaysia within the coming two weeks.

She said since the start of the pandemic, the UAE has always looked at Malaysia as a close friend and contributed to supporting the country in combating the Covid-19 virus.

“With this donation, the UAE pray for this pandemic to come to an end soon and hope that this donation will further support and enhance Malaysia in its battle to combat this virus,” she added.

Meanwhile, when asked whether the Sinopharm vaccine would be given as a booster jab, Harjeet Singh said the MOH’s Technical Working Group for Covid-19 Vaccination would decide on that matter.

“This will be determined by the technical committee at the ministry level, but in the meantime, we have got this (the vaccine doses) so the technical committee will first validate it, so we have to wait,“ he said.

The UAE has previously extended Covid-19 assistance to Malaysia such as contributing 20,000 units of Covid-19 PCR test kits in March 2020 and seven tonnes of hand sanitisers made specifically to Wisma Putra’s Diplomatic Equipment Stockpile (MDES) in May of the same year. — Bernama