Snowdan urges Putrajaya to allow private hospitals, pharmacies, conglomerates in securing Covid-19 vaccine supply

Datuk Snowdan Lawan

KUCHING, May 15: Allow and assist financially capable institutions such as pharmacies and conglomerates to procure extra Covid-19 vaccines for Sarawak’s crucial needs, Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) Youth chief Datuk Snowdan Lawan urged Putrajaya and the Ministry of Health (MOH).

Snowdan, who is also Assistant Minister of Youth and Sports, pointed out that Sarawak is only three months away from its State Covid-19 Immunisation’s target of 70 per cent population immunity but the slow pace of vaccine rollout is a serious cause for concern which could delay its August target.

“So far, only over 100,000 people have received the first dose of vaccines. But there are already 1.2 million people registered either via MySejahtera or manually for vaccination.

“This is a cause to be worried about as we aim to have 2.1 million eligible adults vaccinated by the end of August this year.

“At the pace we are rolling (out vaccines) now, (it seems that) the supply of vaccines will not be able to meet the demand. Sarawak needs sufficient vaccines to cater for the vaccination drive,” he said in a statement today.

Snowdan highlighted this in supporting party president Tan Sri Dr James Masing Jemut’s call for Putrajaya to not restrict Covid-19 procurement by those keen to secure supply including Sarawak, private hospitals, pharmacies and conglomerates as people’s lives matter more than economic considerations in this critical period as Covid-19 cases have surged.

Noting that Putrajaya had in late April given the green light for the Sarawak government to purchase its own vaccines, Snowdan emphasised that assisting other recognised institutions to procure vaccines from international sources which would ensure sufficient supply and enabling them to deliver the shots will complement and accelerate Sarawak’s efforts in vaccinations.

On fear that there could possibly be unscrupulous entities that would manipulate the vaccines especially the sales of counterfeit or legitimate vaccines in the open market, Snowdan said: “It is very much a matter of stringent enforcement at every end of our delivery system”.

“The Emergency Ordinance 2021 is there to secure and extend to not only allow clinics or pharmacies to source international purchases, but more importantly it should entail authority to monitor any misuse or illegitimate trading of these vaccines as controlled items,” he added.

Snowdan thus hopes that with Putrajaya’s endorsement to allow these institutions to procure the vaccines, it will enable states or Malaysia to expedite the vaccination programme to its populace. — DayakDaily