Phase 3 of the NIP might be delayed; here’s why

Written by: Bernie Yeo | 06 May 2021 17:58
Written by:
06 May 2021 17:58

Khairy Jamaluddin recently revealed that Malaysia's third phase of the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme (NIP), which is scheduled to start this month, could be delayed due to insufficient vaccine supplies

“Phase 3 was supposed to start in May but I don't know if we will have enough supplies. We need to make an announcement on that (later),” the Science, Technology, and Innovation Minister was quoted as saying.

According to Khairy, the delay of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout nationwide is not due to the system's inefficiency but due to developed countries being given priority by pharmaceutical companies.

“Of course, as a developing country, we are extremely dissatisfied with the distribution of vaccines around the world. You can see like for Malaysia, it is not because of the inefficiency of our vaccination programme, we turned this around in 48 hours, we made appointments for more than 260,000 people,” he said.

“It is not that we cannot do it fast but it is because the supply of vaccines is slow simply because pharmaceutical companies prioritise rich countries and give deals to rich countries which are not on offer for developing countries.”

Khairy, however, assured that the supply will pick up the pace by next month as richer countries finish inoculating most of their citizens

He stated that he is not trying to shift the blame on anybody and is just trying to manage expectations.

Khairy drew parallels between the vaccine supply disparity and the tragedy of the Titanic ocean liner.

“People come to me all the time telling me they want the vaccines. It's not they are sitting in a freezer here in KL but they have not arrived yet. They arrive on a very gradual basis.

“So it's like a scene from Titanic where the guys from the lower class are waiting for the lifeboats and the guys from the upper cabin have already gone onto them. That is what's happening,” he said.

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