All 268,000 slots for AstraZeneca vaccine snapped up; minister promises more doses

All 268,000 slots for AstraZeneca vaccine snapped up; minister promises more doses
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KUALA LUMPUR (May 2): An overwhelming response to the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine registration process saw the system being jammed up in the initial hour, and the entire 268,000 slots taken up in about three hours.

"All AZ slots are booked," Minister of Science, Technology & Innovation Khairy Jamaluddin said in a tweet at 3.20pm.

The government, which received the AstraZeneca vaccine on April 24, decided that the 268,600 doses of vaccines will be made available on a "first click, first served" basis in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur. This came after concerns were raised with regards to the safety of the vaccine.

The vaccination will be administered at four special special vaccination centres (PPVs) located at Universiti Malaya, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, World Trade Centre Kuala Lumpur, and IDCC Shah Alam, starting on May 5.

Khairy, who is the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme’s coordinating minister, apologised for the "initial glitch and multiple refreshes" those seeking appointments experienced.  

The minister, in an earlier tweet, hinted on the timeline for the next batch of AstraZeneca vaccine delivery.

“We are scheduled to receive a million doses this month via COVAX. We will expand the opt-in other states (except Sarawak, which has declined), and ensure those without access to internet, etc, can also sign up,” he said.

On April 4, Malaysia joined COVAX, which is co-led by the Vaccine Alliance, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, and the World Health Organization. It aims to accelerate the development and production of Covid-19 vaccines, and guarantees fair and equitable access for every country in the world.

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S Kanagaraju