Polls coming; go for AstraZeneca vaccine

Khairy Jamaluddin

KUCHING:The Sarawak government was urged to consider using the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine to help expedite its vaccine rollout state-wide in time for the state election.

Coordinating Minister of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme, Khairy Jamaluddin said this is because Sarawak is a red state and had been recording a high number of Covid-19 cases of late.

“I have made an offer to Sarawak — it is a red state; it wants to complete its vaccination by a certain time because of its concern of having the state election — for it to consider the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine,” he said during a joint press conference with Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba today.

Earlier, he said the federal government would be offering the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine on a “first come, first served” basis to the general public in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor.

He said the AstraZeneca vaccine would be given only to those who voluntarily wanted to receive them after taking into consideration concerns from the public.

“We do not want to waste a vaccine that is proven to be safe and effective. But at the same time, we understand there are certain concerns among the public on the AstraZeneca vaccine,” he said.

Last Friday, Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) chairman and Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said Sarawak is currently discussing its vaccine purchases with suppliers.

“We are now discussing the matter with the relevant authorities to sort out how we want to purchase them (the vaccines). They will be used as reserves in case there are problems with the supply from the federal government,” he said.

Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian, who was polled by online portal FMT yesterday, said Sarawak is on track to achieve its target of vaccinating 2.2 million people or 70 percent of the total population in the state by August.