Khairy: “First come first serve” for AstraZeneca vaccine

by HARIZAH KAMEL / pic by AFP

A RESERVATION system for the AstraZeneca vaccine will be open to the public soon on a “first come first served” basis, Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar said.

Following concerns about the AstraZeneca vaccine, the minister said the government will take a proactive step to not use it in the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme.

“We do not want to waste a vaccine that is proven to be safe and effective but at the same time, we understand there are certain concerns among the public with regard to the vaccine.

“Instead, we will be offering the vaccine at special vaccination dispensing centres (PPVs) to the public on a voluntary first-come-first-serve basis,” he said in a joint press conference with Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba in Putrajaya today.

Khairy said the PPVs will be opened in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur first due to the high number of Covid-19 cases reported.

Malaysia has received about 268,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines with the arrival of the first batch last week.

Khairy also stressed that the cases of blood clotting incidents among receivers of the vaccine are very rare amid some reports in Europe.

“After a thorough evaluation from our team of experts, they found that the benefits of this vaccine far outweighed the harms especially with regard to blood clotting cases.

“According to the data we have obtained, only Norway, Denmark and Hong Kong have suspended the use of this vaccine, while other countries have either continued to use this vaccine or have re-used it after being delayed for evaluation,” he said.

He said the risk of blood clots of those taking the AstraZeneca vaccine is vastly lower when compared with other conditions.

“There are only four cases of blood clot out of one million people globally.

“The risk of blood clots from the AstraZeneca vaccine is significantly less at 0.0004% compared to the Covid-19 infection at 16.5%, smoking (0.18%) and taking birth control pills (0.05-0.12%),” he explained.

To date, the number of those who have registered for vaccination is 9,332,413 or 38.5% of the population that is aged 18 years and above.

The number of those who have received the first dose was 844,906 while those who had completed both doses were 524,843.

The total dose given in Malaysia is 1,369,749 while the total number of vaccine doses that have been shipped to Malaysia is 1,938,660.