The government has agreed for the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine to be given to the public on a voluntary basis at specific vaccination centres, Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said today.
Khairy, who is in charge of the country’s vaccination programme, said the AstraZeneca jabs would only be administered to those who register for appointments at these centres.
“We would like to announce that the AstraZeneca vaccine will not be used in the regular vaccination programme,” he said at a press conference in Putrajaya.
“We will open special vaccination centres for the AstraZeneca vaccine.”
He said the decision was made in light of public anxiety over the vaccine.
“We do not want to waste this vaccine which is both safe and effective,” he said. “But we understand that science and facts cannot overcome public fear and the fake news that has been circulating about this vaccine.”
He said the first 268,600 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine would be given to residents in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur as daily cases are still high in these states.
“The case numbers in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur are still very high, so we have decided to divert the 268,600 AstraZeneca doses there.
“I spoke to the Selangor menteri besar yesterday for Selangor to come up with appropriate centres in the state, and also for us to look at centres in Kuala Lumpur,” he said.
“The decision was made by the health minister and I, taking into consideration control of the outbreak.”
He added that those aged 18 and above would be able to register under a special booking system that would be opened for appointments.
“This will be done on a first come, first served basis,” he said. “We will not limit it to those under Phase Two.”