Malaysians can't choose Covid-19 vaccines for now, says minister

The government's priority now, said Mr Khairy Jamaluddin, was to accelerate the inoculation programme. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysians will not be able to opt for their preferred choice of vaccines for now as this will only slow down the vaccination process, said the coordinating minister for the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme Khairy Jamaluddin.

The government's priority now, said Mr Khairy, was to accelerate the inoculation programme.

"Right now, we are focusing on accelerating the vaccination process. If we give them a choice, it will slow things down.

"I have decided that as far as policy, we thought about that initially but now, the concern is to increase and ramp up the numbers and give whatever we have, " he told reporters after visiting the Malaysia International Trade and Exhibition Centre (Mitec) on Sunday (May 30).

On Thursday, Mr Khairy had said that they were looking at allowing the public to choose the vaccines of their choice, with the MySejahtera app to undergo an upgrade for this.

This was after the AstraZeneca vaccine received overwhelming response during the second opt-in and was included back into the national programme.

Mr Khairy said that for the past two days, the country had also reached 107,000 vaccinations a day, adding that this would reach 150,000 jabs daily soon with the arrival of more vaccine supply.

"I want to ensure that the 150,000 becomes an average rather than a peak once in a while.

"We are working very hard to ensure that we can get up to an average of 150,000 in this coming month, June, " he said.

Mr Khairy said there were some days when the vaccination rates dropped, noting that this was because there were states that only operated on a six-day cycle.

"We are trying to increase to seven days but in some states, some of the centres are run by the Health Ministry and they have requested for a rest day as they are really stretched. We have to understand this for the Health Ministry staff, " he said.

Mr Khairy said the government was looking into various ways to bring in additional manpower - whether from the private sector, retired nurses or to even train more people to administer the vaccines.

There would also be new features on the MySejahtera app, he said, allowing those who received a wrong vaccination date to use the Helpdesk to cancel their appointments or change the date as well as one for pregnant women and nursing mothers.

Meanwhile, the Council of Justices of The Peace of Selangor has urged the government to expedite the vaccination programme.

It welcomed the announcement that private clinics and mobile clinics would be mobilised.

"We hope that it would cover more areas of Selangor as the state has the highest number of infections. It is also the most industrialised state, so it needs priority, " it said in a statement.

It also urged the government to allow private hospitals to run a parallel vaccination programme to complement the government effort.

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