After rejecting AstraZeneca vaccine at first, Dr Sim says Sarawak now mulling opt-in programme

Dr Sim receiving his Covid-19 vaccine earlier this year – UKAS video screencapture

By Chew Lip Song

THE Sarawak government is looking into allowing those in the state to opt for the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, available on a voluntary basis in other states, two weeks after Sarawak had rejected the vaccine brand for its people.

Sarawak Disaster Management Committee advisor Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian said the state Covid-19 Advisory Group (SCOVAG) will reconsider the state’s initial decision to reject the AstraZeneca vaccine following safety fears.

“Looking forward to work closely with KKM (Health Ministry) and the Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force to accelerate large numbers in vaccine delivery through Sarawak,” Dr Sim, who is also state Local Government and Housing Minister posted on his Facebook.

He added that SCOVAG will also look into the AstraZeneca opt-in programme and the plan by the state government to purchase the vaccines from next month.

Dr Sim reiterated that he was confident all eligible Sarawakians would be vaccinated by August, unless there’s disruption to supply.

Late last month, Dr Sim said Sarawak would not allow AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered on people in the state following reports of rare cases of blood clot worldwide.

Dr Sim however said Sarawakians who wish to get vaccinated with the brand of vaccine could still do it outside the state.

Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin had announced that the AstraZeneca vaccine would not be included in the mainstream vaccination rollout. Malaysians however, could volunteer to be inoculated with the AstraZeneca  vaccine.

Malaysia will soon receive another million doses under the Covax facility.

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