Sarawak to receive AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines soon

File photo depicting vials containing the AstraZeneca vaccine. Photo source: Flickr, Creative Commons license

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By Nur Ashikin Louis

KUCHING, May 21: Sarawak will receives its share of the AstraZeneca (AZ) Covid-19 vaccines soon.

The Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF) in a statement said Malaysia had received two more shipments of Covid-19 vaccine at Kuala Lumpur International Airport today with the arrival of AZ and CoronaVac (Sinovac Life Sciences Co Ltd) vaccines totaling 1,059,200 doses.

“A total of 559,200 doses of AZ vaccine from bookings made through the Covid-19 Vaccine Global Access (COVAX) Facility arrived in Kuala Lumpur at 7.50am via flight MH6125.

“The CoronaVac vaccine arrived at the same time via flight MH361 with a total of 500,000 doses.

“The arrival of the supplies is in addition to the existing stock making the latest number of AZ vaccines already received from COVAX is 828,000 doses. The previously obtained stock was 268,800 doses,” it said.

The task force also mentioned that another shipment of AZ vaccine supplies from COVAX with the same amount of 559,200 doses is expected to arrive at the end of the month.

The AZ doses received to date have been ensured quality, safe and effective through compliance with Lot Release requirements.

“The next vaccine will be sent to the AstraZeneca Vaccine Delivery Center (PPVAZ) in Lembah Klang as well as in three other states namely Penang, Johor and Sarawak which have just joined the AstraZeneca Vaccine Invitation Initiative starting May 5 this year,” it added.

However, while Sarawak has agreed to let the AZ vaccine be used in the State, the vaccination will be unlike the AZ opt-in programme carried out in other states which would prioritise those above 60 years old.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas on May 18 had announced that the vaccine will be used in Sarawak on a voluntary, first-come, first-served basis by appointment.

For this purpose, the State will set up separate, designated vaccination centres and they will be announced in the near future.

Under the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK), the additional vaccine supplies were an effort by the government to intensify vaccination process and it is expected to begin in June.

To date, vaccination rate also recorded a consistent increase, with as many as 60,261 people had received their vaccinations on May 17; which has increased to 76,551 (May 18) and 83,648 (May 19). — DayakDaily