The government will soon allow those aged 18 and above to obtain the AstraZeneca (AZ) vaccine on a voluntary basis outside of the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme (NCIP). The new directive was announced by Minister Khairy Jamaluddin who is the coordinator of NCIP.
While the government is confident that the AZ vaccine is safe based on existing data, it also acknowledged that some members of the public are quite nervous about the usage of the vaccine for NCIP. This is mainly due to the risks of blood clots although such cases are considered rare for the time being.
Pengumuman: Satu sistem tempahan untuk vaksin AstraZeneca akan dibuka untuk orang ramai berusia 18 tahun ke atas secara first come first served. Vaksin ini akan diberikan di satu pusat vaksinasi berasingan. pic.twitter.com/N9NuAtg47J
— Vaksin COVID-19 🇲🇾 (@JKJAVMY) April 28, 2021
Hence, the government has decided not to use the AZ vaccine for the general vaccine rollout under NCIP. Instead, those who are confident enough to accept the vaccine will be allowed to sign up for it separately in order to avoid wastage, according to Minister Khairy.
The government will be setting up a special appointment system as well as separate Vaccination Administration Centres (VAC) for this purpose. Minister Khairy has also confirmed that the special appointment system for the AZ vaccine will still be linked to MySejahtera while there is no further action that needs to be taken by those who have registered for vaccination and wish to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech or Sinovac vaccine.
The initial rollout which involved 268,000 doses will take place in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur as the number of cases within these two states are still quite high while Sarawak is also considering the usage of the AZ vaccine.
The AZ vaccine will be provided on a first-come, first-serve basis although the actual rollout timeline was not provided during today’s announcement. Minister Khairy also said that the AZ vaccine has a 12-week interval which would allow more people to obtain the first dosage before additional supply arrives in Malaysia next month.
(Source: Minister Khairy / JKJAVMY. Image: Yves Herman / Reuters.)