The COVID-19 vaccination programme has been moving along with minimal hiccup, with the voluntary AstraZeneca vaccination officially kicking off
on Wednesday (5 May).
But if you're in Phase 3 of the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme (NIP) and you're patiently waiting for your turn, we have some bad news for you.
Longer wait for Phase 3
The third phase of the NIP, which was supposed to begin in May 2021, might be delayed, Malay Mail
This was confirmed by coordinating minister Khairy Jamaluddin, who told the website that the delay was due to the lack of supplies in the global vaccine distribution chain as pharmaceutical companies allegedly prefer giving priority to richer countries.
“Phase Three was supposed to start in May but I don’t know if we will have enough supplies. We need to make an announcement on that (later).
“Of course, as a developing country, we are extremely dissatisfied with the distribution of vaccines around the world," he was quoted as saying.
Khairy added that the matter was highlighted not just by developing countries, but it was also echoed by United Nation’s Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and World Health Organisation (WHO) chief Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
“The rollout of vaccine supplies as far as the first half of 2021 is concerned, is completely inequitable and frankly unethical,” he was further quoted as saying.
On a positive note, Khairy assured that the vaccine supplies may come in at a more frequent pace in June, as by that time, most of the richer countries would have finished inoculating a majority of their citizens.
While the situation has not been ideal, he added that he is not pushing the blame on anyone but only trying to manage expectations of Malaysians.
“People come to me all the time telling me they want the vaccines. It’s not they are sitting in a freezer here in KL but they have not arrived yet. They arrive on a very gradual basis.
“So it’s like a scene from 'Titanic' where the guys from the lower class are waiting for the lifeboats and the guys from the upper cabin have already gone onto them. That is what’s happening,” he told Malay Mail
He also suggested that the situation calls for international communities to hold further discussions to deal with the current and future pandemics.
Let’s hope that things will settle down soon, and the whole of Malaysia will be able to get their vaccines on time.