As Sarawak’s plan to buy vaccines delayed, state told to source for alternative brands

sinopharm vaccine

By Chew Lip Song

THE Sarawak government should quickly purchase Covid-19 vaccines like Moderna and Sinopharm which have been approved by the World Health Organization as new infections continue to rise in the state.

Michael Kong, a special assistant to Sarawak DAP chairman said the state government should drop its plan to purchase 500,000 doses of Sinovac vaccines since the company would have to fulfil its orders to the Federal government first.

“With the Federal Government’s orders of 12 million doses of Sinovac vaccine scheduled to arrive only in late July 2021 and another 25 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine by the third quarter of 2021, GPS never stood a chance to get the vaccines at all.

“By the time it is Sarawak’s turn to purchase its own Pfizer-BioNTech and/or Sinovac vaccine, it will be the end of the year and the number of positive cases here will go through the roof!” Kong said in a statement.

He added that the Sarawak government should now source for vaccine brands not being used under the National Immunisation Plan (NIP) like Moderna and Sinopharm. This is because the Federal government had given the assurance that states were allowed to buy vaccines other than those used under the NIP as long as they had been approved by the WHO.

Despite soaring Covid-19 infections, Kong said the Sarawak government had yet to purchase any vaccines despite announcing plans to do in February.

He added that with Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin had confirmed that purchases by the state government for Pfizer-BioNTech and Sinovac vaccines would have to wait until all the orders by the Federal Government were.

“This merely confirms that all the talk about Sarawak Government purchasing 500,000 Sinovac vaccines is only a political show,” Kong said.

He said Gabungan Parti Sarawak should have flexed its muscles and used its ‘kingmaker’ status to get the Federal government to prioritise the state under the NIP.