Masing tells Putrajaya not to restrict Covid-19 vaccine procurement as people’s lives matter

Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing

KUCHING, May 14: Economic gain should not take precedence when it comes to making healthcare decisions, said Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Masing Jemut who has urged Putrajaya not to monopolise the purchases of Covid-19 vaccines but allow Sarawak and even other state governments or conglomerates who are keen to secure the vaccine supply from manufacturers.

Expressing dissatisfaction with the speed of vaccines rolled out by the Ministry of Health (MOH) to Sarawakians, Masing pointed out that Putrajaya must not put stringent restrictions or prohibitions on the procurement of vaccines.

“The speed of rolling out vaccines to Sarawak is not what we have anticipated. We want to create herd immunity in Sarawak as soon as possible.

“The demand to be vaccinated is more than supply. We have the fund, please allow us (Sarawak) to procure for the sake of our people,” he asserted in a statement today.

With the ferocity of another Covid-19 wave where time is critical for controlling this surge, Masing emphasised that economic gain must not be a factor for Putrajaya when it comes to making healthcare decisions.

“People’s health must take precedence above economic considerations.

“We must bear in mind that tough times require tough decisions,” he added.

He also suggested that the Federal government comes up with a policy to regulate the procurement, sales and use of the Covid-19 vaccines in Malaysia.

“Recognised clinics or pharmacies in Malaysia must be allowed to purchase and give vaccines to those who want.

“These vaccines must be put under controlled items whereby the government must put a price-cap on it. With stringent enforcement in place, anyone who violates these rulings must be penalised,” he said.

With regulations and enforcement in place, Masing believes that Malaysia will be able to flatten the curve and contain the menace of Covid-19.

“The United States have done it with their warp speed in rolling out the vaccines and they are able to lift the restriction on mask wearing.

“If the United States with over 200 million people can do it, there is no reason why Sarawak with only 2.8 million people can’t,” he added. — DayakDaily