KOTA KINABALU: Api Api Assemblywoman Datuk Christina Liew (photo) has expressed grave concern over talk that some COVID-19 vaccines had been disposed of for whatever reasons, here, recently.
The former Deputy Chief Minister said she was perturbed to hear stories about this alleged incident, being spread around by word of mouth,
“I call on the State Health Department to investigate such negative narratives. Generally, people in Sabah are in dire need of vaccination against the prolonged pandemic.
“If the vaccine disposal story is by any chance found to be true, further investigation and certainly some form of discipline should be the order of the day to prevent a recurrence,” Liew said in a statement on Wednesday.
Given the shortage of COVID-19 vaccines in the country as acknowledged by the Federal Government, she stressed that strict measures should be in place to avoid any unnecessary wastage.
“Ideally, if some appointment slots are not taken up on a particular day for valid reasons, then others who have registered for the vaccination programme but are still on the waiting list, should be asked to come so that the vaccines are not wasted,” Liew, who is also Tawau MP, said.
According to a Sabah health expert, there are three possible reasons for any vaccines to be discarded.”It could be excess unused vaccines in a vial as there are no other recipients at that point in time. Perhaps the vaccines have expired. Thirdly, the vaccines may have been exposed for too long such that the cold chain has been broken,” the expert said when contacted.
Meanwhile, Liew said she had received complaints from KK residents that they had registered for the vaccination programme via the MySejahtera Application sometime in February this year but the appointment schedule was not forthcoming.
“It was only this month (May) that they were notified of their appointment date, according to them. That was a long wait indeed. I think their frustration is understandable,” she lamented.
Last month (April), the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme Coordinating Minister, Khairy Jamaluddn had said that Malaysia was still short of the vaccine supply as the delivery schedule from manufacturers was infrequent, causing a slow rate of vaccination. The vaccine supply will increase in June and July, according to him.