MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku


Monday, May 3, 2021

Data shows making AstraZeneca vaccine opt-in boosted confidence in NIP


Public confidence in the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (NIP) has been boosted after the government removed the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine and made it an opt-in choice for the public instead, Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said, referring to data on the matter.

He said that the voluntary programme was created due to "vaccine hesitancy" over the British-manufactured vaccine.  

“The whole reason for having the opt-in for the AstraZeneca vaccine was due to vaccine hesitancy towards this particular brand of vaccine for Covid-19.

“This was seen in 8,000 cancellations of the vaccination registrations in MySejahtera when we announced the use of AstraZeneca in the NIP.

“The number of cancellations was rising and this resulted in the Special Committee on Covid-19 Vaccine Supply deciding that we should remove the AstraZeneca vaccine from the mainstream NIP and to have this opt-in programme instead," Khairy said at a press conference in Putrajaya today. 

“This is data we have showing vaccine hesitancy. We noticed even people showing up for their appointments started to drop off after the announcement of the AstraZeneca vaccine being included in the NIP,” he added.  

He was speaking at the weekly joint press conference with Health Minister Dr Adham Baba on the progress of NIP, which was broadcast online via video conferencing and live stream.

Khairy also noted that after the announcement of the AstraZeneca vaccine being made available to the public on a voluntary basis, 80 percent of those who cancelled their registration on MySejahtera had re-registered for vaccination.

He added that his ministry would do a “deep dive” on the cancellations and would update the public on the analytics to ensure better communication.

However, he stressed that while good communication is important, the NIP must continue to progress smoothly and cannot be interrupted.

“We want to ensure the existing NIP proceeds smoothly. We noticed the cancellations and it was something that concerned us greatly. That is why we carved out the AstraZeneca vaccine from the mainstream NIP.

“There comes a stage where science, however expertly communicated, cannot keep pace with conspiracy theories.

“So, to preserve the smooth flow of the NIP, we decided to remove the AstraZeneca vaccine (from the programme),” Khairy said.

The minister revealed that another 1.1 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine should be arriving in Malaysia this month from the Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access (Covax), with another 610,000 doses directly from AstraZeneca in June, 410,000 doses in July as well as 1.2 million doses arriving in August and September.

With this steady supply of AstraZeneca vaccine as well as the success of the opt-in programme registration yesterday, Khairy said the government will be rolling out the programme to other parts of the country.

“I am pleased that 260,000 appointments were taken up in three hours. We are looking to expand this programme because we have more AstraZeneca doses coming. 

"We will continue to maintain it as an opt-in voluntary programme under NIP," he added. 

Khairy gave his assurance that vaccine equity would also be taken into account to ensure this brand would be available to those without Internet or MySejahtera access.

“This is just the first batch of AstraZeneca vaccines. We wanted to see if there is a demand. We will take into account issues of vaccine equity moving forward,” he added.  - Mkini

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