Purchase Vaccine From Alternate Manufacturers To Speed Up Vaccination Drive

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Press Statement By Michael Kong:

Sarawak is now in a crisis with 4,484 positive cases over the past 1 week (29.05.2021 – 04.06.2021)! In Kuching alone, we have a daily average of approximately 188 positive cases during the same week. With the severity of the situation, everyone cannot help to wonder what is the Sarawak Government doing insofar as the Covid-19 vaccination is concerned. Until today, we have yet to see any purchase of Covid-19 vaccines by the Sarawak Government despite having announced such plans in February and obtaining approval from the Federal Government in May.

Recently, Khairy Jamaluddin has come out to confirm those hoping to purchase Pfizer-BioNTech and Sinovac vaccines will have to wait until all the orders by the Federal Government are fulfilled before they can get their vaccines. This merely confirms that all the talk about Sarawak Government purchasing 500,000 Sinovac vaccines is only a political show. With the Federal Government’s orders of 12 million doses of Sinovac vaccine scheduled to arrive only in late July 2021 and another 25 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine by the third quarter of 2021, GPS never stood a chance to get the vaccines at all. By the time it is Sarawak’s turn to purchase its own Pfizer-BioNTech and/or Sinovac vaccine, it will be the end of the year and the number of positive cases here will go through the roof!

Milton Foo’s statement today merely confirms that Sarawak Government never had the willpower to push the Federal Government to expedite the vaccine rollout in Sarawak in the first place. The people have been hearing of the alleged plans by the Sarawak Government to buy Sinovac vaccines for months. GPS should have flexed its muscles and used its ‘king maker’ position to ask for priority so that its orders of 1 million doses be bumped up the list. Instead, we have a Sarawak Government that only waits for vaccines to be allocated to it under the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (NIP). All the sequence of events merely confirms GPS is only there to do the bidding of the PN government.

I welcome Khairy Jamaluddin’s assurance that the Sarawak Government can buy vaccines other than those used in the NIP provided that it is approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO). At present, there are many other vaccines approved by the WHO which have already been rolled out in other developed nations such as Singapore, United States, Canada, and/or Europe.

With that, I strongly urge the Sarawak Government to immediately take steps to purchase other readily available vaccines such as Moderna and Sinopharm. It is time that Sarawak Government gets their act together and work on purchasing more vaccines for all Sarawakians instead of paying lip service of being ‘Sarawakian First’.

Michael Kong Feng Nian
Special Assistant to YB Chong Chieng Jen