KUALA LUMPUR, June 2 – Several measures should be taken up by the government in securing smooth vaccination process for the people, said Information Chief Shahril Hamdan.
This includes the access to supply, approval from the authorities and logistics.
“We must understand the most important point here is the supply… We need to negotiate and lock the price before purchasing… place a reservation.
“There are many sources but consideration must be given to how fast can we get it. They soonest a country make an order, the fastest will they get it,” he said in a Facebook via Umno Online.
Comparatively, he said Malaysia was a bit slower in making purchases as compared with Singapore and Indonesia.
“Malaysia made the first booking in December 2020. Why late? Why can Singapore and Indonesia be fast? The answer is because Singapore made an early booking and set a budget of almost SGD1 billion which was equivalent to RM3.1 billion for 10 million doses, compared to us at RM3.5 billion for 73.5 million doses.
“It means the price was competitive, and Singapore was willing to pay to get it fast. Why don’t we pay more to jump queue? Singapore paid more and got it much earlier. Not us. Whilst was a candidate for Sinovac phase three clinical trial and due to the effectiveness of it, they were given priority in the procurement of Sinovac vaccine.
“Not to mention the rich developed countries and the pile of vaccines exceeding their need, for example the United States buys vaccines up to five times the total population, the United Kingdom four times and Australia three times. There are countries that were faster than Malaysia.”
Furthermore, Shahril said every order must get approval from the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) under the Health Ministry.
“NPRA is recognized internationally and all approved vaccines are safe and effective. NPRA approved Pfizer in January, Sinovac and AstraZeneca in March 2021. The manufacturer then sent it to Pharmaniaga to bottle it.
“The other two vaccines that have not been approved are CanSino and Sputnik V. That is why we have not heard about both because the NPRA has yet to give its approval,” he said.
On the issue of logistics and administration, Shahril said this has to managed properly.
“NPRA must give fast approval, ensure everything is okay before the vaccine is sent to the Vaccination Center. For example, 500,000 doses of AstraZeneca and 500,000 Sinovac were delegated last week but it can only be used on June 6? Why so slow?”
Therefore, Shahril who is also Umno Youth Vice Chief hopes all relevant processes will speed up so that 80 per cent immunization is achieved by December this year.
He is also of the view that the matter should have been discussed and debated in Parliament but it did not take place as the Parliament is suspended.
“Even that, the government must play a role to provide better communication. For example, JKOM must do something to provide information for the people. They want to know what prompted the process to slow and when can they get it. Dont make them panic.”
It is also clear that many parties have already played a role in the successful registration of the vaccination process, he said.
“Alhamdulillah, Umno too encourages the people to register. In some places, Pasir Gudang for instance, we provide transportation service to ferry them to vaccination centers,” he said.