People ready for AstraZeneca jab if S’wak reconsiders it

KUCHING: Sarawakians welcome the prospect of an AstraZeneca opt-in programme and hope a decision will be made quickly.

This came after the Sarawak government said it would reconsider AstraZeneca vaccines after turning them down initially.

Business executive Elizabeth Charles said she would definitely register for it.

“For the public, it’s a faster alternative access to a vaccine, instead of always having to check MySejahtera to see whether it’s their turn or not.

“Most of my colleagues are hoping the opt-in programme will start in Sarawak. Not only will it increase the number of people being vaccinated faster, it will give them peace of mind, especially younger ones living with family members categorised as high risk, ” she added.

Sales manager Jonathan Ong also said he would register for the vaccine if it was available in Sarawak.

“I believe there will be those who wish to volunteer for the AZ vaccine because the benefits outweigh the risks, ” he said.

Engineer Jason Yeo agreed that the vaccine’s benefits outweigh the risk of blood clots, especially for senior citizens, but feels that the public should be given a choice to decide which vaccine to take.

“I prefer Pfizer, which is proven to have less complications. I welcome the AZ vaccine for Sarawak but let people choose which vaccine they want, ” he added.

State Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian, who oversees public health, said the state was now waiting for the Sarawak Covid-19 vaccine advisory group (Scovag) to decide on the matter.

“A decision is expected to be made soon, ” he said yesterday.

Dr Sim earlier revealed that Scovag would look again at the AstraZeneca opt-in programme for Sarawak, along with the state government’s purchase of vaccines starting next month.

He said that the state continued to work with the National Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF) and Health Ministry to speed up vaccine delivery to Sarawak.

“Looking forward to working closely with the Ministry and CITF to increase vaccine delivery to Sarawak through our rightful share under PICK (National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme), Scovag to re-discuss AstraZeneca for an opt-in programme, not part of the mainstream vaccination programme currently running, and Sarawak government’s self-purchases from next month onwards, ” he said in a Facebook post.

Last month, Sarawak decided not to accept the AstraZeneca vaccine when national Covid-19 immunisation programme coordinating minister Khairy Jamaluddin offered it in view of the coming state election.

This came after the Government took AstraZeneca out of the national immunisation programme and put it under an opt-in programme.

Khairy said the Government remained open if Sarawak decided to accept the AstraZeneca vaccine.

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