KUCHING, May 7: The police report lodged against Pending assemblywoman Violet Yong over ‘expired’ Covid-19 vaccines by Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) Youth Central was uncalled for and a clear abuse of police resources whose primary duty and responsibilities are to fight crime and ensure public security.
George Lam, special assistant to Yong, has hit back at SUPP Youth Central today, asserting that as an elected representative, it is duty-bound for Yong to raise Sarawakians’ concerns by seeking an explanation from the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) government on the reason for agreeing on the usage of expired Covid-19 vaccines or booster shots on its people.
“It is ridiculous to simply reprimand someone who shows concern for the health issue of Sarawakians.
“Violet Yong did not do anything wrong by demanding a proper response from the Sarawak government on the issue of administering vaccines with extended shelf life instead of vaccines that have not expired.
“It is baseless for SUPP to accuse that the issue brought out by Violet Yong had created public disorder and fear amongst the people,” he said in a statement today.
Lam has come to the defence of Yong following a police report lodged against the latter over two videos posted on her social media alleging that the Sarawak government had used Sarawakians as ‘guinea pigs’ for Covid-19 vaccines whose shelf life has been extended.
Concurring with Yong’s view that the Sarawak government should utilise its autonomy to fight for the best healthcare for the people of Sarawak, he pressed that the government should demand new vaccine supplies be administered to the people of Sarawak.
“I am disappointed that instead of fighting for better healthcare for Sarawakians, SUPP chose to act against Violet Yong, who is seeking the truth in protecting the people’s interests and doing something which SUPP dares not to do.
“In my view, SUPP should stop all the cheap and selfish political stunts from gaining senseless political mileage,” he added.
Lam said the GPS government should use its kingmaker status to ensure the vaccines or booster doses offered are valid and not with extended shelf life.
He also believes that it is the responsibility of Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian, the president of SUPP and the Minister of Public Health, Housing and Local Government, to come forward and explain to the public why Sarawak could not get new vaccine supplies for its people.
“Even the minister himself admitted that he also received an expired vaccine for his second booster,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Sarawak Health Department has, on April 24, clarified that the Covid-19 vaccines, which have passed their expiration date and were offered to people, were safe and effective as their shelf life has been extended, subjected to storage at frozen conditions by the manufacturer.
The extension was approved by Malaysia’s National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) and regulatory bodies worldwide based on scientific evidence and evaluation.
Unlike other vaccines and pharmaceutical products, the Covid-19 vaccine was developed in the shortest time — less than two years. Thus manufacturers are running research to assess their shelf lives.
Once new stability tests prove that the vaccines remain stable and effective over time, the expiry date of vaccines can and will be extended. — DayakDaily