Sarawak urged to reconsider decision on AstraZeneca

PUTRAJAYA: National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme Coordinating Minister Khairy Jamaluddin is hoping that Sarawak will reconsider its decision not to accept AstraZeneca (AZ) Covid-19 vaccine after looking at the public feedback and confidence in the vaccine.

“Yesterday (Sunday), we saw very strong confidence in AZ. We will leave it to the government of Sarawak if they want to accept AZ after the show of confidence.

“I am open to its application in Sarawak,” he said in a joint press conference on the weekly update of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme, here on Monday.

Last Friday, State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) advisor Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian rejected Putrajaya’s offer the AZ vaccine.

On the roll out of the AZ vaccine, Khairy said it will be expanded and maintained under the voluntary programme after all 268,000 appointment slots were snapped in just over three hours on Sunday.

He said under the second roll out, the programme will take into consideration those without access to the Internet and vaccine equity.

“Going forward in designing the future programme under the AstraZeneca programme … We will reach out to community clinics so that we can (continue to) offer on the voluntary basis,” he added.

Khairy said Malaysia will have steady supply of the AZ vaccines with 1.1 million doses scheduled to arrive this month from Covax facility, 610,000 doses from AZ itself in June, 410,000 doses in July and 1.2 million doses arriving in August and September.

He said the Special Committee on Covid-19 Vaccine Supply Access Guarantee (JKJAV) would decide on the interval period for AZ tomorrow based on efficacy, logistics and spike in cases.

Meanwhile, denying the characterisation of AZ roll out in the country as a “Hunger Game”, Khairy said JKJAV made the decision to proceed on voluntary bookings after taking into consideration public’s hesitancy of the specific vaccine.

He said 8,000 cancelled their registration in MySejahtera application after it was previously announced that Malaysia will proceed with AZ in its National Immunisation Programme.

“The number of cancellations is rising. This resulted in JKJAV deciding to opt it out from the mainstream immunisation programme and have this opt-in voluntary programme instead,” Khairy explained.

He said about 80 per cent of those who cancelled their registration, reregistered into the programme after AZ was introduced on a voluntary basis. – Bernama