SIBU (May 4): The state government should consider using the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine for senior citizens above 60 years on a voluntarily basis.
In stating this, Sibu Division Disaster Management Committee (SDDMC) coordinator Dr Annuar Rapaee pointed out that the scientific data available have shown that potential benefits far outweigh the risks posed by this vaccine.
“I propose that we (state government) use it (AstraZeneca vaccine) for those above 60 years old, based on the scientific data. But we should use it on a voluntarily basis for the elderly in this age bracket, more so with the high number of daily Covid-19 cases in Sarawak now.
“Whoever (in this age bracket) wishes to get vaccinated with this vaccine, they must have been already well informed about its benefits and risks. Getting vaccinated with AstraZeneca must be done on a voluntarily basis and not subject to any pressure. In Canada, those aged above 60 years old will receive this type of vaccine, while in United Kingdom, it is for those over 30 years old.
“What is more important as what I have repeatedly stressed, is to get as many people vaccinated as possible, as soon as possible and as fast as possible, to create herd immunity against this virus,” Dr Annur told The Borneo Post last night.
“And if you were to ask me what is the best vaccine for Sarawak, I will say the best vaccine is the one that is first readily available to you.”
He said this when asked to react to National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme coordinating minister Khairy Jamaluddin’s earlier remarks that the federal government remained open if Sarawak changed its mind on the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine and decided to accept it.
Dr Annuar pointed out every medicine, whether vaccine or drug, had their associated risks but what was more important was for potential benefits to outweigh risks and yield overall beneficial effect, especially during the current Covid-19 pandemic.