Media statement by Yeo Bee Yin, MP for Bakri in Bakri, Johor on 21 May 2021:
Is our vaccine supply now falling short of government earlier estimation? Are we on track of getting 4 million of additional vaccine supply in the month of May?
As Malaysians are enduring the movement control order (MCO 3.0) for more than a week now with the daily Covid-19 positive number shows no sign of improvement, we begin to wonder if MCO 3.0 will be extended and most importantly, when will we be seeing the end of the tunnel? Indeed, many things may not be within our control such as emerging variants.
However, we can at least do other things such as increasing efficiency and speed in trace, test and isolate as well as managing the vaccination rollout better to lower the number of cases and severity of the positive cases.
Vaccination rollout in the United Kingdom (UK) showed clearly that vaccination although not the silver bullet is a major solution to the crisis. Let me illustrate that in numbers. The UK started their vaccination roll-out in the beginning of 2021. At the start of the year, the first dose vaccination rate was less than 3% while full vaccination rate less than 1%. As of now, nearly 70% of the UK population has received at least first dose of vaccine and about 40% completed two doses of vaccine as of now. The number of their Covid-19 positive cases dropped from the range of 60,000 per day in January 2021 to the range of 2,000 positive cases per day in May 2021. Within just 5 months of efficient vaccine rollout, the UK saw a drop of more than 95% of positive cases!
Malaysia National Covid-19 Immunisation Plan was launched on 24 February 2021. On 14 April 2021, the Immunisation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin shared on his social media an estimation of vaccine supply and demand curve by Special Committee on Ensuring Access to Covid-19 Vaccine (JKJAV) as below.
Yesterday, it was reported that Malaysia has administered 2.07 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines as of yesterday according to JKJAV. Assuming 70% usage rate, we have received about 2.95 millions of vaccine supply so far. However, from the estimation graph, we should have received about 6 million vaccine supply by mid of May (red arrow).
Is our vaccination supply now falling short of earlier estimation?
Even if we don’t look back and finding fault, the graph also shows that in the month of May, we’ll receive 4 million additional vaccine supply. Looking at how urgent it is for faster vaccination rollout, two third of the month of May has gone, we would like to seek clarification from the government if the estimation of 4 million doses of additional vaccine supply this month will be achieved? And is the government going to find ways to compensate for the shortfall of vaccine supply from estimation?
The government cannot put the entire blame of the shortage of vaccine supply to the behavior of the developed countries. We should find ways to do more efficiently of what we can control. For example, Pharmaniaga received 200 litres of Sinovac vaccine in bulk for fill-and-finish on 27 February 2021, however the first batch of locally filled-and-finished Sinovac vaccines (290,480 doses) was only ready to be distributed last week – more than 10 weeks after receiving the bulk supply. The government should review the process and if possible, find ways shorten bulk-to-vials process (without compromising the safety).
We once again call upon the government to use whole-of-government and all-of-society approach so that we as a nation can achieve the vaccination target set earlier.
We should aim for supply equivalent to 80% population by October and 80% population fully vaccinated by February 2022. The opposition (parties and states) as well as the private sectors are not the enemies to the government in this, there are still rooms for more collaborations that the government can leverage on so that we can together, ensure the National Covid-19 Immunisation Program a success.