PUTRAJAYA, April 28 — The government will start to administer AstraZeneca vaccine at specially designated vaccination centres (PPVs) soon, and the public can opt for it, said National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme Coordinating Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.
He said registration for the AstraZeneca vaccine shots would be on a first-come-first-served basis and is voluntary.
The move was made to address the people’s fears and concerns about the vaccine, apart from not wanting to disrupt the ongoing immunisation programme, he said.
“Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba and I have discussed AstraZeneca in detail… we do not want to waste this effective and safe vaccine, but at the same time we understand that science and facts cannot overcome public concerns.
“We will open designated PPVs for the vaccines and it will not be administered at the regular PPVs… so those who have seen all the data on the vaccines can come forward to register voluntarily,” he said in a joint press conference with Dr Adham on the development of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme today.
He said that the appointment booking system will be open to anyone aged 18 and above; it will not be reserved only for those listed in the second phase.
The designated PPVs will be established in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur, where a total of 268,800 doses of vaccine have been allocated, he said.
“For a start, the vaccine will be administered in these two states as a consideration to control the pandemic.
“We will carry out a pre-vaccination screening assessment at the designated PPVs for those who register, and once we find that they are eligible to receive the vaccine, they will be inoculated,” he said.
He said that those who already have an appointment date, including the elderly, do not have to worry because they will be given the Pfizer vaccine.
Khairy said that only AstraZeneca will be administered at the designated PPVs due to the concerns over the possible blood clots related to the vaccine, and since there were no concerns over other vaccines, namely Pfizer and Sinovac, these two vaccines will continue to be administered at other PPVs.
He said that the second dose of AstraZeneca would be given after 12 weeks so that more individuals could be vaccinated in these two states.
“As a result of discussions with the Health director-general, the interval for AstraZeneca as agreed will be 12 weeks, that is recommended by the World Health Organisations (WHO).
“We expect an additional supply of AstraZeneca vaccines to arrive in May for us to administer the second dose,” he said.
He reiterated that the risk of blood clots from the AstraZeneca vaccine is four cases per million doses of vaccines which is 0.0004 per cent, compared with 16.5 per cent if they are infected by COVID-19, 0.8 per cent for smoking cigarettes, and 0.05 to 0.12 per cent using birth control pills.
Meanwhile, Khairy also said that the AstraZeneca vaccine was also offered to the Sarawak government, following the state’s concerns to hold its state election (PRN), so that the immunisation programme could be completed quickly before August this year.