Sarawak will continue to us the Pfizer-BioNtech Covid19 vaccine throughout its vaccination programme and as mentioned by our Chief Minister, Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Abang Haji Openg the use of other vaccines such as the Sinovac vaccine from China would only be considered if Malaysia’s regulatory bodies such as the Health Ministry approved its use.
This morning our chief minister had said at the moment the state government will just use the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine but if the regulatory bodies announced the other vaccines can also be used, then we will look into it, and may consider using the other vaccines.
#AbangJo was asked by our media friends if Sarawak would consider using the Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine from China in its vaccination programme after various online news reports revealed that the efficacy of the Sinovac vaccine dropped to about 50 per cent compared to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has an efficacy of more than 90 per cent even after only the first dose, according to the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme handbook. Our chief minister had also assured that the regulatory bodies, especially Ministry of Health (MoH) with its experts, would know what is best for the health of Malaysians, with the aim to break the Covid19 chain of infection.
According to him, if the regulatory bodies say the other vaccines can be used, then we may use them. If not, then we don’t use them and we will leave it to the experts.
On a related matter, #AbangJo said while Sarawak is implementing its own vaccination programme, the state government is also looking at the implementation of similar programmes in other parts of the world.
As far as the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is concerned, the state government was given to understand that the vaccine has been cleared for use across North America, Europe, Africa and the Middle East, and vaccination campaigns have begun in at least 99 countries, including Malaysia. Since 26 February, a total of 218 million doses of the vaccines had been administered across 99 countries.
However, Abang Johari had stressed that continued compliance with non-pharmaceutical interventions was still essential to achieve the impact because the vaccine is not a cure, but a form of protection against potential infection that should help to break the chain of transmission of the coronavirus.
In relation to this, our Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas had disclosed the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) had previously set up a ‘Covid-19 Vaccine Adversary Group’ to look into matters regarding Covid-19 vaccines in the state.
The group led by our former State Health Department director, Datu Professor Dr Andrew Kiyu and it consists of 11 scientists and experts in the medical field, tasked to also advise the state government on matters related to the vaccines.