Confusion over exclusion from AstraZeneca

PETALING JAYA: With opt-in registrations for the second round of AstraZeneca (AZ) Covid-19 vaccinations expected this week, there is still confusion among Malaysians as to how it intersects with the mainstream vaccination programme.

After National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme coordinating minister Khairy Jamaluddin confirmed that an announcement on the opt-in would be made, many took to social media to seek clarification and others, to offer it.

The AZ vaccination drive, which started on May 5, is an offshoot of the mainstream immunisation programme.

It is only offered to people who opt for it.

The government created a different stream for AstraZeneca as many Malaysians had voiced their reluctance to take it if it is offered in the mainstream immunisation programme, following reports of rare cases of blood clots in several recipients overseas.

Facebook user Johari Abdul pointed out that the AZ vaccination is different and separate from the mainstream programme.

Lee Chia Ming agreed, adding that he wondered if those who keep asking about it “never read the news.”

“Why only AZ? Cos many people don’t want it so it’s removed from the ongoing national vaccination programme and only open to those volunteering to take it (sic).

“Why only buy AZ? Hello, we bought five types of vaccines. Pfizer is the most so far and it’s not like 'you want it, you get it'.

“The whole world is sourcing for it, God knows who or how the manufacturer decides who and how many they want to sell to, ” he said, adding that the national vaccination programme, albeit slow, is ongoing.

Lee added that the government should quickly allow more private hospitals to help in the vaccination programme.

Menaka Aryaduray agreed, saying that the national vaccination programme is “rolled out based on age and not when you registered.”

“Those in their 80s and 70s are getting theirs now. Tak faham-faham lah some people (I cannot understand some people)!

“It may be slow but it is moving. So those who are impatient and can’t wait can always opt to register for AZ, ” she added.

Facebook user Nina was among those who questioned the need to register again after already doing so in her MySejahtera app.

Weighing in, Cecilia An said that even for AZ, priority should be given to those above 50, who he said are in the group at greatest risk of dying from Covid-19 upon infection.

Angeline Kwan also questioned the “fast lane” for AZ while senior citizens who are supposed to get vaccinated have yet to get theirs done.

“Dad still waiting for an appointment date till today. Now the younger ones are getting vaccinated while the higher risk (group) is still waiting, ” she said.

In a reply, Madeline Teo said she registered her mother for AZ and explained that Kwan could do the same as “one million more doses will be opened for opt-in in May.”

To stop people from wondering and speculating, Facebook user Tam Yeng Siang said the government should have a daily update on the number of people being vaccinated.

(The Special Committee on Covid-19 Vaccine Supply, or JKJAV, website at has a Statistics & Info tab that provides daily vaccination updates by state.)

Nazlenee Aziz, 67, from Melaka said she and her 74-year-old husband are eagerly waiting to be called to roll up their sleeves.

“I registered during the first few days when registration opened. Until today we have not been called.

“My husband is a heart patient and I am diabetic, ” she added.

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