Aspirasi cries foul on AstraZeneca vaccine offer

Aspirasi president Lina Soo

KUCHING: Sarawak People’s Aspiration Party (Aspirasi) has cried foul over the recent AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine ‘offer’ to Sarawak by Covid-19 National Immunisation Programme (NIP) Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.

Its president Lina Soo said that the AstraZeneca vaccine has generated a lot of controversy with 209 cases of blood clots and 41 deaths linked to the vaccine use in Britain as reported by the British Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA). 

“With this statistic, it is foolhardy to claim that the benefits will outweigh the risks, as one death from the vaccine is one death too many,” she said today.

Soo noted that 18 countries had suspended the use of AstraZeneca vaccine, while the European Union was not reordering, and Denmark, Hong Kong and Norway were banning its use.

“It was reported that Malaysia had placed an order for the AstraZeneca vaccine to cover 20 percent of its population of 32 million, and its first batch of 268,800 doses has been received. 

“Sarawak has a small population of only 2.8 million and if six million doses of AstraZeneca were to be dumped into Sarawak, this means each Sarawakian can be vaccinated more than twice over,” she said.

Soo concurred with the decision of Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian to reject the AstraZeneca vaccine for Sarawakians on safety concerns.

“Please stop using Sarawak as dumping ground for AstraZeneca and second-hand goods,” she said, referring to the dysfunctional ventilators sent to Sarawak by the federal Ministry of Health (MoH).

On another issue, Soo criticised the government’s u-turn decision to permit students in hostels and dormitories to go home immediately without the need to undergo the RT-PCR test first.

“Does this mean that the Sarawak government does not even have the means or the capability to apply the RT-PCR test on a small segment of the population who are boarding students and university students living on-campus? 

“Nationwide, it has been reported that there are more than 40 clusters in schools and colleges, with more than 23,000 students below the age of 12 having contracted the virus.

“Many students are asymptomatic and are silent super spreaders.  Allowing them to go home now to their kampungs and longhouses without clearing them for the Covid-19 infection carries too big a risk to the family members and residents,” she said.

As such, she said, Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) must revert to the original policy of giving the students the RT-PCR test before allowing them to go home.

“This is to prevent the avoidable catastrophe of any student bringing the Covid-19 to the home and village.

“Prevention is better than cure, and we cannot afford to make any mistake at all in the management of Covid-19,” she said.