Dr Sim: Sarawak reconsidering AstraZeneca opt-in vaccinations

14-May-2021 Intellasia | Malay Mail | 5:02 AM Print This Post

The AstraZeneca (AZ) Covid-19 vaccine could yet be an option for Sarawakians as Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian has revealed that the Sarawak Covid-19 Advisory Group (Scovag) will reconsider the state’s initial decision not to accept it.

The State Disaster Management Committee advisor said in a Facebook post that the AZ vaccine, which Sarawak had initially turned away due to public concerns over its side effects, could be rolled out with vaccines purchased by the state government next month.

“Looking forward to work closely with the KKM (Ministry of Health) and the CITF KL (Kuala Lumpur Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force) to accelerate large numbers and increase in vaccines delivery to Sarawak through our rightful share under PICK, Scovag to re-discuss AstraZeneca opt-in programme and Sarawak government self purchases from next month onwards,” he said, referring to the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK).

Dr Sim had last month said Sarawak would not accept the AZ vaccine after it was offered to the state by Coordinating minister for the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme Khairy Jamaluddin in view of its coming polls.

This comes after the federal government decided to take the vaccine out of PICK and offer it instead under a voluntary programme, which was well-received when it was launched on May 2 in the Klang Valley. Subsequently, Khairy offered Sarawak the vaccine again.

Following the success of the voluntary programme, The Borneo Post had last week conducted an online survey which found a large number of respondents favouring the AZ vaccine as an option in Sarawak but they were generally split on whether they wanted to be vaccinated with it themselves.

Some 69.3 per cent of the 1,024 people who took the survey agreed with making the AZ vaccine an option in Sarawak, while 52.7 per cent wanted to be vaccinated with it.

The Covid-19 vaccines currently being administered in the state are from Pfiser-BioNTech and Sinovac.

Dr Sim also said in the Facebook post that Sarawak should have the ability to scale up the vaccination quickly to up to 80,000 vaccinations per day to achieve the state’s goal of completing the immunisation programme in August this year, some five months ahead of the national target.

“We are quietly confident to complete vaccinate all eligible Sarawakian by August (unless disruption of vaccines supply),” he said.

However, Dr Sim, who is the Local government and Housing minister, also expressed concern that only 1,124,241 Sarawakians have registered for the vaccination out of some 2.2 million targeted by the state.

“Let’s encourage those who are hesitant about vaccines, time to register is now. Otherwise no reason for KL to give and other countries to sell vaccines to Sarawak more than those who are registered!”

Dr Sim had shared in the Facebook post that the 12th shipment of the Pfiser-BioNTech vaccine had arrived here.



Category: Malaysia

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