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Allegations of low vaccination rate in country not true, says Khairy

PUTRAJAYA (May 3): Allegations that the vaccination rate in the country is slow and low are not true as vaccination jabs are done according to the supply delivery schedule, said National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme Coordinating Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.

He said that the country had so far received a total of 1,938,660 doses of the Pfizer, Sinovac and AstraZeneca vaccines, of which 1,453,382 doses had been inoculated.

“This shows that the utilisation rate of vaccines received in the country is 75% … if it’s only 10%, then yes, it’s slow. As such, this is not about a low vaccination rate and it’s not like we do not want to swiftly vaccinate the public; the issue is that the supply is sent according to the schedule,” he said at a joint media conference with Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba on the development of the immunisation programme today.

He said another 25% of the vaccines had been reserved for vaccine appointments arranged based on the delivery schedule.

“We will push it out all the way to 80% after Raya (Hari Raya Aidlifitri) because there is currently a constraint due to a spike in Covid-19 cases, curtailment of the workforce and so on. When more vaccine supplies arrive, we will mobilise them for Malaysians to be inoculated … there is no question of keeping the vaccines and so on,” he said. 

Meanwhile, Khairy said that the Pahang state government's decision to inoculate hospitality workers with the Sinovac vaccine was made before the Special Committee on COVID-19 Vaccine Supply Access Guarantee (JKJAV) meeting on April 6. 

It was only at the meeting that the JKJAV revised the use of the Sinovac vaccine from those below 60 years old to above 60 years old, including those with comorbidities, he said. 

"We stand by that decision of revising the (use) of the Sinovac vaccine based on clinical data and real-world use of the vaccine in various countries," he said. 

Khairy had previously denied allegations that the inoculation of a number of Genting Group workers was conducted on his orders.

He said vaccine recipients under the first phase of the national vaccination exercise were determined following the guidelines in setting the frontline task list as issued by the JKJAV on March 1.

On April 29, the Pahang State Disaster Management Committee said that the vaccination of workers from the hospitality industry was done based on several factors, including the cluster involving Genting Highlands as well as the increased number of vaccine doses obtained by the state.

It said efforts to get recipients for the 5,600 additional Sinovac vaccines began early in March, with 3,036 people from the hospitality sector. 

Meanwhile, Khairy said they are working with the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development to encourage unlicensed elderly care homes to come forward and register the elderly under their care for the immunisation programme. 

"We have given an assurance that no action will be taken during the course of the immunisation programme and we encourage them to register," he said. 

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