Covid-19: No opt-in programme for other vaccines, says Health DG

PETALING JAYA: Only the AstraZeneca vaccine will be used for the opt-in programme and it will not be extended to other vaccines, says Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

"(It is) only for the AstraZeneca vaccine," he said briefly on Tuesday (May 4) when asked if the government would expand the opt-in programme to include the Pfizer-BioNTech and Sinovac vaccines.

On April 28, the government announced that it will be offering the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine on a “first come, first served” basis to the general public in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor following public concerns on the vaccine.

The AstraZeneca vaccine had recently come under scrutiny due to a possible risk of rare blood clots forming.

The government then decided not to use the AstraZeneca vaccine in the mainstream immunisation programme but instead decided that it would be offered through special vaccination dispensing centres.

Khairy Jamaluddin previously said about 8,000 people cancelled their vaccination registrations on MySejahtera as soon as the government announced that the AstraZeneca vaccine was going to be part of the national immunisation programme.

"This resulted in our decision to carve out AZ from the mainstream programme and have an opt-in programme.

"As soon as we announced the carve-out, about 80% of those who cancelled on MySejahtera re-registered for their appointments. So this is the data that we have showing how there was vaccination hesitancy," said the coordinating minister for the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme,

On Sunday (May 2), the government opened the online AstraZeneca vaccination bookings for appointments for those in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur residents.

In three hours, 268,000 AstraZeneca vaccine slots were filled up.

The AstraZeneca vaccine programme will begin on May 5 at four vaccination centres - Universiti Malaya, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, the World Trade Centre in Kuala Lumpur and the Ideal Convention Centre in Shah Alam.

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