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Sunday, May 30, 2021

Govt decides against allowing public to choose vaccine

 


Putrajaya has decided against giving an option for the rakyat to choose their type of vaccine, said Khairy Jamaluddin, the minister in charge of the country’s Covid-19 immunisation programme.

This came only three days after Khairy announced that the government was looking at giving the option via the MySejahtera application.

“We thought about that initially, but now the concern is to increase and ramp up the vaccination number. So, we will just give whatever (vaccines) we have,” he said.

“If we give them an option, maybe that will slow things down,” he told a press conference after visiting the vaccination centre at Malaysia International Trade and Exhibition Centre (MitEC) today.

Some may choose to wait if they were given an option to choose their vaccines, he said.

In April, the Malaysian Public Health Physicians’ Association urged the government to allow the public to choose their designated vaccines to enable the government to achieve herd immunity.

The association pointed out some people were reluctant to register for the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (NIP) due to vaccine manufacturer preference and fears of strong side effects.

It was recently reported that 10,827 individuals had failed to turn up for their vaccination appointment in Kedah between April 19 and May 22 while a similar issue happened in Kelantan, which saw close to 10,000 missing their appointment.

For the record, the recipients are not given the option to choose which type of vaccines they receive.

An exception was later made for AstraZeneca when Putrajaya took the vaccine out of the mainstream NIP as certain quarters were concerned over extremely rare but potentially fatal blood clot cases reported among its recipients in other countries.

To date, only vaccines from three sources have been approved by Malaysia’s health authority, namely Pfizer, Sinovac and AstraZeneca.

Meanwhile, de facto Law Minister Takiyuddin Hassan also warned that action could also be taken against anti-vaxxers under other existing laws, including the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998, as well as the Emergency Ordinance 2021.

On another development, Khairy said Malaysia will discuss with Saudi Arabia the haj and umrah pilgrimage programme as some Malaysian Muslims took Sinovac, which was not recognised by Saudi Arabia.

“I am seeking the advice of the committee’s expert if those who received their first dose of Sinovac, can take Pfizer (instead, when they return for a second dose),” he said, adding that the expert has yet to come back to him.

Not many were affected by the issue, he added.

The government had decided to give the Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca vaccines to those selected to perform the haj this season. - Mkini

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