KUALA LUMPUR: The AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine opt-in programme which was offered voluntarily via http://vaksincovid.gov.my, will be expanded to community clinics.
Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the move was to ensure the vaccine could be offered to those who were unable to access the website and the MySejahtera mobile application.
“This is just the first batch. We want to try and see if there is a demand (for it) and to do it as quickly as possible. As we extend the AstraZeneca opt-in voluntary rollout, we will take into consideration its use of vaccine equity,” he said in a Press conference via Zoom today.
Khairy, who is also the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme Coordinating Minister said 1.1 million more doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine were expected to arrive this month through the Covid-19 Vaccine Global Access (Covax) facility. This involves 610,000 directly from the vaccine manufacturer in June, 410,00 in July and 1.2 million in August and September.
He also revealed that some 8,000 people had cancelled their National Immunisation Programme (NIP) registration, following the arrival of the AstraZeneca vaccine and its usage in Malaysia being announced recently.
"And the number of people cancelling their registration with the NIP keeps rising. After further discussions, the Covid-19 Vaccine Supplies Access Guarantee Special Committee (JKAV) decided that the AstraZeneca vaccine should be removed from the main vaccination programme.
“Following this, 80 per cent who cancelled their subscription had re-registered with the NIP.”
He said the recipient’s trend had indicated vaccine hesitancy towards the brand.
Khairy said an in-depth review on the matter would be conducted and released to the public.
"While we do our best to communicate (to the public on Covid-19 AstraZeneca vaccine), we don’t want to interrupt the National Immunisation Programme, utilising Pfizer and Sinovac and want it to proceed smoothly.
"We noticed that people have cancelled their registration and did not turn up for vaccination, that was something that concerned us greatly.
“There comes a stage where science, however effectively communicated to the public, cannot keep pace with conspiracy theories,” he said adding that this prompted the government to remove AstraZeneca from the mainstream vaccination programme and offered it on an opt-in voluntary basis instead.
Source: New Straits Times