AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine now for all Malaysians, after registration debacle

A day after Malaysians were left frustrated for not being able to sign up for the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, the government has decided that the brand will now be a part of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme.

The decision was made following “encouraging public response” but did not hide the fact that the registration system – a component within the entire system which enjoys an allocation of RM70 million – is flawed.

Some who tried to register yesterday could not select their vaccination centres, while others were blocked during the registration process.

Following cases of rare blood clotting by those who received the AstraZeneca vaccine abroad, the government removed the brand from the national immunisation plan and made it voluntary instead.

The first round of opt-in registrations was carried out on May 4, which saw 268,000 AstraZeneca vaccine slots filled in about three hours. Yesterday, close to one million people registered for the same vaccine.

Khairy apologised to those who faced difficulties in signing up yesterday. He admitted the entire registration process could have been better.

He added problems related to the system would be investigated.

Khairy, however, stopped short of revealing how much of the RM70 million that had been allocated to the entire system, including the daily reporting system dashboard, the integration system to connect MySejahtera with the Health Ministry’s database and genomic surveillance system, had been spent.

“We’ve not spent all of it,” he said.

Khairy also revealed that the government was looking at allowing the public to pick the vaccines of their choice, adding that the vaccination rate was expected to increase to 150,000 shots a day, by next month.

Malaysia recorded 7,857 new Covid-19 cases today – the highest ever.