KUALA LUMPUR - Selangor ruler Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah has questioned why the state with the highest count of daily Covid-19 infections was given only enough vaccine doses to cover one shot for 10 per cent of its population.
He said he was shocked to know that the state received only 615,210 doses of Covid-19 vaccine instead of the 2.9 million as claimed earlier.
This, he said, was "unfair", as the amount is highly disproportionate to the state's population of 6.5 million.
"His Highness would also like to remind that Selangor is the nation's biggest gross domestic product contributor, and as a result, the state should be given due priority," the ruler said in a statement issued by his private secretary Mohamad Munir Bani on Tuesday (June 8).
Last week, the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation told health news portal CodeBlue that 2.9 million doses of the vaccine had been delivered to the opposition Pakatan Harapan state as at May 30, while the Special Committee on Ensuring Access to Covid-19 Vaccine Supply (JKJAV) said 398,029 doses had been given to the state's residents.
The figures however, were disputed by the Selangor Public Health, Unity, Women and Family Development Committee chairman, Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud, who said that as at June 1, the state had received only 615,210 Covid-19 vaccine doses.
Last Saturday, the Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF) - which is tasked with ensuring the vaccines' distribution in Malaysia - issued a statement to clarify the "error" in the data given.
The CITF said the initial 2.9 million vaccine doses includes "stock in government facilities and in distributor's warehouse located in Selangor which is ready to be distributed nationwide."
It also said that as at June 1, Selangor has the highest number of Covid-19 vaccine doses delivered with 615,210 doses, followed by Kuala Lumpur (578,130) and Johor (370,680).
Selangor has recorded the most number of coronavirus cases out of all the 13 states and three federal territories in Malaysia.
It recorded 1,524 new cases on Tuesday. Overall, Malaysia recorded 5,566 cases on that day, bringing the total tally to 627,652.
Sultan Sharafuddin on Tuesday expressed his sadness over the situation in Selangor. He hoped that the JKJAV would expedite and increase the number of Covid-19 vaccine doses supplied for Selangor residents.
"In this situation, lives must be given priority as opposed to other agendas," he said.
He also wanted to see more vaccination centres in the state, especially in the rural areas. He felt the vaccines could be given to the people through drive-through or mobile clinics, in an effort to expand the vaccination programme.
Sultan Sharafuddin also hoped that people would not be taken in by claims from anti-vaxxers, adding that vaccinations can save lives, especially when dealing with a dangerous pandemic like Covid-19.