KJ: It’s about supply, not speed

PUTRAJAYA: About 75% of the 1.9 million doses of vaccine available in the country have already been administered, says Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin (pic).

He said the high utilisation rate showed that the government was doing all it could to quickly administer as much vaccine to as many people as possible.

However, Khairy who is the coordinating minister of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme, said the government’s desire was hampered by the issue of supply.

“To date, we have received 1,938,660 doses of vaccines from Pfizer, Sinovac and AstraZeneca and we have already injected 1,453,382 doses. This is a utilisation rate of 75%.

“I understand that everyone wants to be vaccinated early. It is not a question of the government not wanting to administer jabs quickly. But the issue here is with the supply.

“As soon as we get a supply of vaccines, we want to immediately jab it into people’s arms, so the question of withholding the vaccine jabs does not arise, ” he said at his weekly joint press conference with Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba here yesterday.

Khairy said the government was hoping to ramp up the utilisation rate to 80% after Hari Raya Aidilfitri, which was expected to fall on May 13.

“Currently, there are constraints in terms of manpower and also due to the recent increase in Covid-19 infections.

“For example, in the AstraZeneca voluntary programme, we are getting private clinics to become GPs (general practitioners) to manage the PPVs (Covid-19 vaccination centres) under the programme.

“So, not just healthcare workers from the Health Ministry but also GPs from the private sector are involved to boost our workforce, ” he said.

Khairy added that the GPs would be from private clinics such as Qualitas Medical Group, BP Healthcare and QueueMed.

There are four PPVs chosen as dedicated centres to administer AstraZeneca jabs under the voluntary programme that begins May 5 –Universiti Malaya, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, the World Trade Centre in Kuala Lumpur and the Ideal Convention Centre in Shah Alam.

The vaccine supply situation in the country is expected to be boosted with the arrival of 1.1 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines from the Covax facility this month.

Another 610,000 doses are expected to arrive in June, followed by about 410,000 in July, coming directly from AstraZeneca.

In August and September, another batch of 1.2 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine will arrive.

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