By Adrian Lim
KUCHING, May 18: The Sarawak Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force has agreed to allow the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine in Sarawak on a voluntary, first come, first serve basis by appointment.
Following an online survey carried out on the use of AstraZeneca vaccine in Sarawak recently, State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas in a statement today said the result showed that 69.4 per cent of the 1,037 responses were in favour of giving Sarawakians the option of being vaccinated with the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine.
Nonetheless, he added there were just 52.9 per cent of the 1,040 responses who wanted to be jabbed with the vaccine.
“The Sarawak Covid-19 Vaccine Advisory Group (SCOVAG) had presented its recommendations on using the AstraZeneca vaccine for the eligible Sarawak population on a voluntary basis to the Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force Sarawak (CITF Sarawak).
“After the review and presentation, the CITF Sarawak Sarawak has decided to allow the use of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine to complement the Sarawak Covid-19 vaccination roll out plan.
“The vaccine will be supplied to Sarawak through the coordination of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force (National CITF) and will be offered to the eligible population on a voluntary ‘first come, first serve’ by appointment basis,” he said.
Uggah who is also Deputy Chief Minister disclosed that designated vaccination centres for the AstraZeneca vaccine will be set up and prepared, which will be announced in due time.
He said SCOVAG had earlier recommended the use of AstraZeneca vaccine for those above 60-years-old in the urban areas based on low severe adverse events of 6.5 per million doses and the high benefit to risk ratio among those above 60-years-old.
In spite of that, Uggah who is also Second Finance Minister explained that many people were wary and hesitant to get vaccinated after the AstraZeneca vaccine was made available.
He asserted that approximately 8,000 people had cancelled their online vaccination registration following the federal government’s announcement that the AstraZeneca vaccine would be part of the Covid-19 vaccination roll out.
Uggah added there was also increased vaccine hesitancy with some people not showing up for their vaccination appointments.
Hence, he said a decision was made then to take out the AstraZeneca vaccine from the Sarawak Covid-19 Immunisation Programme.
Uggah who is also Modernisation Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development Minister expounded that the CITF Sarawak had opted not to receive the AstraZeneca Vaccine for its Covid-19 vaccination roll out plan based on the disturbing lesson through the rejection rate of vaccination registration.
“The Sarawak government did not want the Covid-19 Vaccination Programme in Sarawak to be jeopardized by the fear and hesitancy due to the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
“After the recent experience of offering the AstraZeneca vaccine in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur on a voluntary basis, a local paper conducted an online survey on May 4 in Sarawak on the reception of the AstraZeneca vaccine,” he added. — DayakDaily