Covid-19: Second round of AstraZeneca for seniors in Johor, Penang, Sarawak

Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the registration for the second round of AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines, which begins on May 23, will include red-zone states of Johor, Penang and Sarawak.

Sarawak Disaster Management Committee chairman Datuk Douglas Uggah Embas, however, said the committee would issue a statement on the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine in the state, tomorrow.

Khairy said senior citizens would be prioritised in the second round and the vaccine would also be sent to elderly care homes.

“But those under the waitlist from the first round of opt-ins would also get their appointments,” said Khairy, who is under home quarantine as a precautionary measure after being deemed a Covid-19 close contact. Khairy had volunteered at the World Trade Centre Kuala Lumpur vaccination centre over the weekend.

If the doses for senior citizens are not taken up after May 26, the vaccine would then be opened for those below 60.

Khairy, however, said pregnant mothers are advised not to take the AstraZeneca and Sinovac vaccines.

For the record, more than a dozen countries, mostly in Europe, have suspended the use of AstraZeneca over fears it may cause some recipients to develop blood clots.

Khairy also revealed the government has allowed Pharmaniaga Bhd to be a pioneer company for the Vaccine Giving Centre (PPV) industry.

“They have bought their vaccines to be given to their factory workers. We approved this application as this is a vaccine factory and I don’t want this factory to have to be closed due to infection,” he said.

Separately, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba revealed that shopping malls were used as a meeting spot for “family gatherings” during Hari Raya.

Speaking at a virtual joint press conference with Khairy, Dr Adham warned this could “spark a crisis” as many headed to the malls since they were prohibited from gathering at home.

The malls in question would be placed on the Hotspot Identification for Dynamic Engagement (HIDE) system. The new list will be released tomorrow.

Here’s the news round-up of The News Normal today.

‘FEDERAL TERRITORIES SHOULD CONDUCT FREE COVID-19 SCREENING TESTS’

Several Kuala Lumpur MPs urged the Federal Territories Ministry to hold a free targeted community screening programme following the sharp increase in Covid-19 positive cases in Kuala Lumpur.

Pakatan Harapan MPs – Tan Kok Wai (Cheras), Fong Kui Lun (Bukit Bintang), Teresa Kok (Seputeh), Dr Tan Yee Kew (Wangsa Maju), Fahmi Fadzil (Lembah Pantai), Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad (Setiawangsa), P. Prabakaran (Batu), Lim Lip Eng (Kepong) and Hannah Yeoh (Segambut) – said the screenings can help identify ‘silent carriers’ of the Covid-19 virus.

They said the Selangor government managed to detect almost 80 per cent of individuals aged between 20-40 years who were positive but did not show any symptoms through the screening programme from May 8-11.

Separately, the Pakatan Harapan Covid-19 Vaccination Committee has urged the Health Ministry and the Special Committee on Covid-19 Vaccine Supply (JKJAV) to ramp up Covid-19 testing and vaccination.

It said based on statistics, there was a 46 per cent drop in nationwide testing from 87,458 on the day before Hari Raya (May 12) to 47,480 on May 15.

SAIFUDDIN CALLS FOR A NEW APPROACH TO PALESTINIAN STRUGGLE

Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah dedicated the World Telecommunications and Information Society Day (WTISD) to the struggle of the Palestinian people.

WTISD is celebrated on May 17 every year.

“In addition to continuing the existing Palestinian struggle agenda, we also need to look at the role and injection of aspirations of a ‘new generation’ of Palestinian fighters and activists who are mobilising new approaches, for example, those who call Israel an apartheid state,” he said in a statement.

He said he had been monitoring international social media platforms that appear to be biased because it is too easy to delete content that support the Palestinian struggle.

“I call on all telecommunications service providers and content platforms, internationally and locally, to work together to improve internet connectivity and ensure the dissemination of authentic, fair and equitable information.”

AS COVID-19 POSES MENTAL HEALTH RISKS, SPEAK TO SOMEONE AND STAY POSITIVE

With more people developing mental health-related issues in the era of Covid-19, sports psychologist Elgin Voon says one should focus on what you have, instead of what you don’t as that can alter perception more positively.