Selangor Journal
Vials of the AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine are seen in a general practice of a doctor in Vienna, Austria, on April 30, 2021. — Picture by REUTERS

AstraZeneca vaccine voluntary programme to be expanded after rousing response

PUTRAJAYA, May 3 — The rollout of the AstraZeneca (AZ) Covid-19 vaccine will be expanded and maintained under the voluntary programme after all 268,000 appointment slots were snapped in just over three hours yesterday.

National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme Coordinating Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said under the second rollout, the programme would 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 a voluntary basis,” he said in a joint press conference on the weekly update of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme, here today.

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.

Asked to comment on Sarawak’s decision not to accept AZ in the state, Khairy said he hoped it would reconsider the decision after looking at the public’s feedback and confidence in the vaccine.

“Yesterday, 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.

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 the public’s hesitancy of the specific vaccine.

He said 8,000 cancelled their registration in the 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

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