Give Sarawakians an option to choose Covid-19 vaccine, says Bukit Assek rep

Irene Chang

SIBU, May 22: Sarawakians should be given the option to choose which vaccine they should be vaccinated against Covid-19.

Bukit Assek assemblywoman Irene Chang, in a statement today, said the freedom to choose the vaccine would encourage more people to register for the vaccine.

“This vaccine hesitancy needs to be addressed and resolved quickly as it will prolong the pandemic and contribute to spikes in cases and potentially giving the virus more opportunities to mutate,” she said.

Chang pointed out that the number of people who had signed up for the immunisation is still low.

“It has been reported that about one million of the targeted 2.08 million people in Sarawak have still not registered and in Sibu alone, more than 90,000 persons have yet to register themselves to be vaccinated,”  she added.

She believed that as currently there are three types of vaccines available, namely Pfizer, Sinovac and Astra Zeneca, more people would sign up for the vaccination programme if they are given the choice to choose one of the three vaccines which is available.

The State government, she said should realise that even though all the three vaccines have good safety and efficacy rates, there are still many people who are hesitant to register because of their concerns about certain vaccines.

This may be caused by lack of knowledge and awareness which may be due to misinformation widely available in the social media.

Although the government has to continuously do their part in educating and encouraging people to get vaccinated with the first available vaccine offered to them and to ensure of adequate and prompt supply of these vaccines, the State government should acknowledge and address this concern of those who are still hesitant, she urged.

She said in the vaccination programme carried out in Sibu on May 7, out of the 1,032 persons who had registered, 176 persons did not turn up.

Although some did not turn up because they did not feel well or for some other reasons, there were some who did not turn up because they prefer another vaccine over the one which was to be administered on that day.

She suggested that in order to overcome the people’s fear and hesitancy, the government should create an environment where people have a choice.

“This would help build trust in the vaccination programme and may help more people to be mentally less hesitant to get themselves registered and vaccinated and to, therefore, achieve the 70 per cent target population faster,” she added. — DayakDaily