Use AstraZeneca voluntary model to ramp up vaccination

IT was an interesting way to start the day for most of the people living in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur recently when the application for the AstraZeneca vaccine opened.

Despite the initial technical hiccups that had prevented people from submitting their applications, all 268,000 slots were snapped up in about three hours.

This is a good sign as people are reacting positively to the AstraZeneca vaccine despite the vaccines’ blood clot risks.

More importantly, this is indication for Science, Technology & Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin to make sure that more batches of AstraZeneca vaccine would be delivered soon.

According to Khairy, who is the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme’s coordinating minister, the opt-in programme for the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine will be extended to more people in Malaysia as the Government is expecting at least 1.1 million doses to arrive this month.

This is truly good news and the process must be expedited to make sure that the vaccine reaches more Malaysians as soon as possible.

Securing more batches of the vaccine and expanding the opt-in to more people in other states will no doubt speed up the inoculation process, which is still too slow when compared to other Asean countries.

According to the COVID-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF), a total of 1.4 mil doses have been given in Malaysia as of May 2, 2021.

Out of this number, 905,683 have received the first dose and 563,350 have been fully vaccinated with the required two doses – which is only about 1.53% of the 33 million people in Malaysia.

Meanwhile, COVID-19 cases have started spiking again after a brief dip, hitting 3,418 new cases on May 2, with 415,012 cumulative infections.

With the roll-out of the AstraZeneca vaccine on a voluntary basis, perhaps the country’s aim to hit the target of vaccinating 80% of the Malaysian population by February 2022 isn’t too far off after all. – May 4, 2021

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