Khairy: Federal govt open if Sarawak wants AstraZeneca

Khairy speaking during a press conference on the Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force. Screenshot taken from a video uploaded on the Special Committee on Covid-19 Vaccine Supply Access Guarantee (JKJAV) Facebook page on April 28, 2021.

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KUCHING, May 3: The AstraZeneca (AZ) Covid-19 vaccine is still available if Sarawak reconsiders its decision not to accept the vaccine, said the coordinating minister for the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme Khairy Jamaluddin.

According to a report on the portal of national English daily The Star today, Khairy was quoted as saying “public confidence in AZ vaccines was high when all 268,800 slots for AZ vaccine appointments were filled up by Malaysians in just three hours”.

“As we can see yesterday (May 2) the confidence towards AZ is good. So it is up to the Sarawak government. If they decide to accept AZ, after seeing how it is well-received yesterday, I am open to it,” said Khairy at a joint press conference with Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba, today.

Khairy earlier said the AZ opt-in programme would be extended to the rest of the country with a batch of 1.1 million doses of AZ vaccines from the Covax facility this month.

The report noted the Special Committee on Ensuring Access to Covid-19 Vaccine Supply (JKJAV) has said the AZ vaccine is safe and its benefits far outweighs the risk it poses to recipients.

On April 29, Sarawak’s Local Government and Housing Minister Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian said Sarawakians who want to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine, may get it from vaccination centres in Selangor or Kuala Lumpur, and not in Sarawak.

Recently, certain politicians also voiced their concerns regarding AZ vaccines being brought over to the state for the Covid-19 National Immunisation Programme (NIP).

Based on reports from the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in Britain, the AstraZeneca vaccine has generated a lot of controversy with 209 cases of blood clots and 41 deaths linked to it. — DayakDaily