DAP: What happened to the plan to purchase our own vaccines?

Sinovac vaccines – Image from BBC.com

By John Isaac

A DAP assemblywoman today urged the Sarawak government to provide an honest explanation why they suddenly decided to rely solely on the federal government for Covid-19 vaccine supplies.

This goes against an early statement that the state would procure Covid-19 vaccines directly from the suppliers in an effort to complete the immunisation programme by August.

Pending assemblywoman, Violet Yong said since February this year, Sarawak has been initiating and applying for approval from the federal government to purchase its own Covid-19 vaccines for the use of the people in state.

“The approval was subsequently granted in April to allow Sarawak to secure vaccines through the State Covid-19 Advisory Group (SCOVAG).

“Even the Chief Minister had announced in May that the Prime Minister had given approval and Sarawak will purchase a total one million doses of Sinovac vaccines in two phases”.

However, she said things changed overnight.

“We have seen on one hand, the Sarawak government claiming that the state will purchase their own vaccines to speed up vaccination.

“But on the other hand, the state government has suddenly forgone the option to purchase the vaccines directly from the source and reverted to the federal government for the supplies.

“This, right after National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme Coordinating Minister, Khiary Jamaluddin’s visit to Sarawak last week,” said Violet.

Violet Yong – Dayak Daily Picture

She said whatever had been said and done in the past few months on direct purchase of vaccines ended up as empty talk and such a flip flop decision had angered many Sarawakians.

“This is particularly so when there are insufficient vaccines available for them though registration had been done through MySejahtera many months ago.

“We demand the state government explain what happened to the earlier plan to purchase one million doses of Sinovac vaccines.

“What is the deal reached between the federal government and Sarawak for the supply of vaccines to Sarawak?,” she asked.

Violet said the government must bear in mind that the sooner we obtain the vaccines, the earlier we can achieve herd immunity to break the Covid-19 infection chain and save more lives.