Vaccine volunteers anyone?

Volunteers wanted for vaccine clinical trial

KUCHING: The Sarawak Health Department is seeking 400 healthy volunteers to participate in a Covid-19 vaccine clinical trial to be conducted at the Sarawak General Hospital (SGH).

“This trial is expected to start in early to mid-January (this year) and you are expected to come for a total of six visits to SGH for completion of the trial,” said its director Dr Chin Zin Hing.

He said individuals who are healthy and interested in participating could WhatsApp the department at 012-3108108 to find out more about the trial.

“Participation in the trial is on a first come, first served basis.”

In response to recent statement by Parti Bumi Kenyalang (PBK) president Voon Lee Shan in which he claimed that this call for volunteers to take part in the Covid-19 vaccine trial showed there was doubt in the vaccine’s safety, Dr Chin clarified that this was a clinical trial and not a vaccination programme.

“This is not the same vaccine as the vaccines to be procured by the government,” he explained when contacted today.

Earlier, it was reported that the first batch of the Covid-19 vaccines jointly developed by Pfizer and BioNTech are expected to be available in Malaysia by next month.

Meanwhile, Malaysia is also procuring AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine, participating in the global Covid-19 Vaccine Global Access (Covax) facility, and arranging to obtain more vaccines from other sources as well. 

With regard to Sarawak, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg last Dec 23 assured that the state government would provide Covid-19 vaccines free of charge for Sarawakians, emphasising that the health of the people came first.

As for priority order for vaccine recipients, he said he would leave this decision to the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee.