Snowdan supports vaccine procurement for state’s use

Datuk Snowdan Lawan

KUCHING: Recognised clinics, private hospitals, pharmacies and conglomerates should be allowed to purchase more Covid-19 vaccines to speed up vaccination process in Sarawak.

Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) Youth chief Datuk Snowdan Lawan said this in support of Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Jemut Masing’s statement to procure more vaccines for the state.

Masing urged Putrajaya to not restrict vaccines procurement and instead allow financially capable conglomerates, clinics or pharmacies to purchase recommended vaccines for the vaccination programme.

“Sarawak, for example, is in need of sufficient vaccines to cater for its statewide vaccination programme by August this year.

“We expect to vaccinate 2.1 million people who are eligible for vaccination by August this year but at the pace we are rolling now, the supply for the vaccines cannot meet the demand,” said Snowdan.

The Youth and Sports Assistant Minister added that the mass vaccination had covered only about 100,000 people on first doses and delays on registration are adding to this problem.

“This delay is perturbing taking into account that about 1.2 million people have registered via MySejahtera application and manual registration. This is a cause to be worried about,” he stated.

In late April, the federal government gave the state government the green light to purchase Covid-19 vaccines from international sources.

With available extra vaccines, it is anticipated that it will accelerate the vaccination programme to achieve herd immunity in Sarawak.

“On fear that there could possibly be unscrupulous entities that might manipulate the vaccine whether it’s legitimate or fake and possibly for sale to those who can afford, is very much a matter of stringent enforcement at every end of our delivery system,” he added.

Snowdan explained that with the enforcement of the Emergency Ordinance 2021 restricting international purchases, it should entail authority to monitor any illegitimate trading of the Covid-19 vaccines as controlled items.

“It is our hope that with Putrajaya’s endorsement to allow institutions to procure extra vaccines from international sources, it will enable states or the country to expedite the vaccination programme to its populace,” Snowdan pointed out.