Malaysians rejoice over opt-in for AstraZeneca vaccine

PETALING JAYA: Following the excitement of Sunday’s (May 2) voluntary AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine registration, Malaysians outside Selangor and Kuala Lumpur are now eagerly awaiting a similar rollout of the vaccine across other states in Malaysia.

Khairy Jamaluddin, the coordinating minister of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme, had earlier tweeted that the country is scheduled to receive one million more doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine via Covax.

Covax is a global initiative jointly led by the World Health Organisation (WHO), Gavi and the Vaccine Alliance and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) to ensure fair and equitable access to Covid-19 vaccine worldwide.

Khairy said an “opt-in” option for the vaccine will be expanded to all other states, except Sarawak.

The Science, Technology and Innovation Minister said the government would also reach out to those who lack access to the Internet for sign-ups.

The announcement was well received, with many Malaysians responding with excitement while some advocated for states with higher Covid-19 caseloads to be prioritised.

@Shane_Subra suggested on Twitter that urban centres should be given the opportunity first.

“YB, I hope KKM considers other urban centres later – Penang, JB, Kuching, KK and important for me – Seremban.”

Echoing the emphasis on Seremban, @memezibang said many who live in Seremban actually have to commute to work daily to Kuala Lumpur and Selangor, making the shot a necessity for them.

@fang_phang from Penang also welcomed the announcement, adding that “When the vaccination coverage is high, we can beat this demon.”

Jason Chan, who also currently resides in Penang, said he cannot wait for the vaccines to arrive in his state.

“All of us need to be vaccinated in order to achieve herd immunity. That should be the top priority.

“I think it’s a smart move by the government to open up the AstraZeneca vaccines for people to volunteer,” Jason said.

“Hopefully with more people vaccinated, those who are sceptical will have more confidence to be vaccinated.”

Regarding the perceived risks, Jason added: “As much as there are many negative things said about the side effects of the vaccine, I think a lot of people just can’t wait to be vaccinated. I am one of them.”

@ssaravs agreed with the general sentiment and said: “If you are not from Klang Valley, hopefully you can book AstraZeneca by the end of this month when more doses arrive unless your state declines.”

Chey Vun Kheng took to Facebook to congratulate Khairy and his team while offering a message of support, saying: “Now please open up online registration for the rest of us outside Selangor/ KL. We are in this together. The sooner we get jabbed, the better!”

Arif Budi also reacted positively to the announcement on Facebook, saying: “Thank you Khairy for speed up the immunisations (thumbs up emoji) Malaysia can race against Covid-19 (sic).”

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