Doubtful AstraZeneca vaccine offer to Sarawak

KUCHING: Education, Science and Technological Research Assistant Minister Dr Annuar Rapaee expressed confusion over the offer by the federal government for Sarawak to consider using the controversial AstraZeneca (AZ) vaccine.

He said this was particularly when the usage of the vaccinewas dropped from the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (NIP) due to public concern on its safety.

“Today, the minister said the AstraZeneca vaccines will not be used in Malaysia (NIP) but what is weird is that Sarawak has been offered to use it.

“I don’t understand the reason behind that and I think Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian, the minister-in-charge of health, has made a statement on this.

“He (Dr Sim) said Sarawak will not accept the use of the vaccine,” the Nangka assemblyman said in a livestream on social media on Wednesday night.

Dr Annuar said he was surprised over the possible complications brought by the Oxford made vaccine.

“In stage 1 and stage 2 (of its trial), I expected that the AstraZeneca vaccine to be one of the vaccines that we can use and will benefit the people, but it was found to be  not as successful compared to the Pfizer vaccine,” he said.

In explaining the side effects of the AstraZeneca vaccine, the trained cardiologist said the vaccine was found to cause blood clots which ultimately led to deaths.

“If this happens in the brain area, it will cause a stroke and if it happens at our heart, it can cause a heart attack; so there are many complications due to this blood clot,” he pointed out.

On Wednesday, coordinating minister for NIP Khairy Jamaluddin said he had made an offer to Sarawak to use the AstraZeneca vaccine to help boost the vaccine rollout in the state as it wants to complete the vaccination earlier.

“I have made an offer to Sarawak for them to consider the use of the AstraZeneca vaccines,” Khairy said.

“They are a red state; they want to complete their vaccination by a certain time because of their concern of having the state election,” he added, during a press conference on Wednesday.