DAP urges Sarawak Government to reconsider offer for AstraZeneca vaccines

Julian Tan

By John Isaac

DAP has urged the Sarawak Government to reconsider the offer for the AstraZeneca (AZ) vaccine.

“We have just missed the opportunity to get more Sarawakians be vaccinated given our increasingly worrying condition on the spread of Covid-19.

“We all need to play our part, especially political leaders, to be more responsible in addressing public fear to overcome vaccine hesitancy. We need to raise public awareness via proven scientific data,” said Julian Tan, the special assistant to Sarawak DAP chief, Chong Chieng Jen.

To reject the AstraZeneca vaccine followed by some political leaders calling those who like to have the AZ vaccine to go to Selangor and KL instead, without proper explanation, is unwarranted.

“We already face the challenge of false and potentially harmful misinformation on Covid-19 vaccination. What we need to do instead is to help stop the unfounded fear in vaccination.

“The safety and efficacy of the AZ vaccines and the benefits far outweigh its risk of developing blood clots,” he said.

The risk of blood clots by taking the AZ vaccine is only four out of one million vaccinated (0.0004%) compared to 165,000 cases out of one million infected with Covid-19 (16.5%).

According to the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI), the latest clinical trials, which include 57,000 people, found the AZ vaccine to be safe and effective in protecting both the elderly and younger adults.

There were 81% fewer Covid-19 cases in vaccinated people than in unvaccinated ones. During the clinical trials, no one who got the vaccine was admitted to hospital due to Covid-19.

The Australian Government has secured 53.8 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

“Simply put, is far better to be vaccinated with AZ than to go down with Covid-19. Most if not all European countries have continued the use of AZ vaccines after taking risk assessments,” pointed out Julian.

Sarawak rejected the AZ vaccines, and all available 268,000 AZ vaccine slots were taken up within three hours in Selangor and KL.

Malaysia is scheduled to receive a million doses this month via Covax, co-led by the Vaccine Alliance, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The operation, including the setting up of special vaccination centres (PPVs), will be expanded to all states except Sarawak, which has declined the offer.

Many Sarawakians, especially those on the 3rd phase, which are of the low-risk category, are anxious to get vaccinated quickly.

Many are still anxiously waiting for their turns.

“Why are we depriving them of the chance to choose to be vaccinated via the AZ vaccine?
“Since we still do not have enough vaccines to go about, why waste them?”

“There is no harm having extra Special Vaccination Centres (PPVs) set up in Sarawak. It can help speed up the vaccination programme, especially with the already available AZ vaccines.

“We have already lost all our ‘green zones,’ and now we are more ‘red’ than ever,”