Approval of single-dose vaccines a ‘game-changer’

KUCHING: The approval of the single dose CanSino vaccine from China and Johnson & Johnson vaccine from the United States may be a ‘game-changer’ in the state’s efforts to increase the vaccination coverage, said Dr Kelvin Yii.

The Bandar Kuching MP stated that such single-dose vaccine is more practical to be used not just for the rural folks, but also those who are bedridden, homeless, and even refugees as well as migrants living within the community.

He also pointed out that it will be more convenient for both the medical team and vaccine recipients.

“This is not only convenient for them because they do not need to make two different trips for the two doses vaccine, but also it is also convenient for those living in remote areas that may have logistical issues.

“Moreover, it is more convenient for the other mentioned target groups where it may prove difficult to track them for their second dose appointment. Therefore, I urge that these single dose vaccines be prioritised for the said target groups so that we can achieve faster coverage and greater protection for them,” he said on Sunday (June 20).

Dr Yii said the authorities must act fast to vaccinate the rural communities to protect them from new and more infectious strains of the Covid-19 virus.

He pointed out that the healthcare facilities in the rural areas are not adequate enough to handle an outbreak especially if it is caused by a more infectious and possibly deadlier strain of the virus.

“The is probably the reason why the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) gave conditional approval for both these vaccines for emergency use in Malaysia as we are also about to receive some doses of Johnson & Johnson from the Covid-19 Vaccine Global Access (Covax) vaccine sharing programme.

“In addition, CanSino has been registered by a local company, Solutions Biologics Sdn Bhd,” he said.

Dr Yii echoed that the government should prioritise such vaccines and use it to vaccinate all rural communities as well as the targeted groups in one go instead of using the current three-phase approach in the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK) and the need to register first.

“Even those without proper identification documents must not be left out of this vaccination programme, especially in the rural areas. The issue of not having a MyKad should not prevent the government from its efforts to inoculate native Sarawakians who do not possess such documents.

“Thus, the village head (ketua kampung or Tuai Rumah) should be roped in to help identify those living within their community that may not have MyKad and with their support must also be given the vaccine to make sure all are protected so no one is left behind,” he added.